The Europa Conference League is set to begin from the 21/22 season, and quite a few questions have emerged regarding the format and the reason behind the competition. According to UEFA’s president Aleksander Ceferin:
“The new UEFA club competition makes UEFA’s club competitions more inclusive than ever before. There will be more matches for more clubs, with more associations represented in the group stages.”
Contrary to the Europa and Champions League, nobody gets direct qualification into the Conference League. In other words, every team that makes it to the 32-team group stage will have to compete in a multi-round qualification process.
Arteta on the Europa Conference League:— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) May 21, 2021
"It's a new competition so I don't really know what will happen. First of all, let's try to finish as high as possible and then after we will determine, once we are involved, what the best way is to do it." pic.twitter.com/WbIo9pi78I
The three rounds lead to playoffs, and the winners of those rounds will have the opportunity to contest the tournament in itself. There will be two paths, which are the champions path and the league path. The first will consist of teams dropping down from the Champions League qualification process and the other will consist of the teams making it from the league process.
With 8 groups of 4, the teams finishing first in each group qualify for the last 16. The teams that finish second will have to face off against the teams that finish last in the Europa League groups. Hence, in a way, it is more competitive than both the other European competitions.
The first final of the UEFA Europa Conference League takes place in Albania’s newly-launched National Arena in the capital city of Tirana. It will be held on 25th May 2022.