What is the UEFA Europa Conference League?
The UEFA Europa Conference League is essentially a new third tier of Champions League and Europa League football which will run alongside the two competitions in it’s inaugural season this year.
The idea behind it is to give more clubs an opportunity to qualify and play European football, especially those sides from countries such as Georgia, Wales and San Marino etc where teams struggle to even get close to qualifying for the group stages of the Champions League and Europa League. You can find all my Europa Conference League bets and predictions in my bets.
How many teams will be in the UEFA Europa Conference League?
Including the qualifying rounds, 184 teams will participate at some stage.
There will be a first qualifying round, second qualifying round, third qualifying round and then a play-off round before the group stage.
Just like the Europa League, there will be eight groups and 32 teams in the group stage and the new competition will feature 11 matches over 15 match weeks.
Who qualifies for the UEFA Europa Conference League?
In simple terms, teams who would have entered the Europa League at the preliminary, first and second qualifying rounds will go straight into the qualifying rounds of the conference league instead.
As the competition is aimed at giving smaller countries more group-stage football, only five clubs will come from the top European leagues — all of which will enter in the final qualifying round.
Starting in the final qualifying round:
West Ham, Villarreal, Fiorentina, Köln, Nice
Elsewhere, teams who lose in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League and Europa League will filter down to the Europa Conference League.
Second qualifying round:
20 losers from Champions League qualifying enter
8 losers from Europa League third-qualifying round enter
10 losers from Europa League playoff round enter
8 third-placed teams from Europa League groups enter
“There will be more matches for more clubs, with more associations represented in the group stages. There was a widespread demand by all clubs to increase their chances of participating more regularly in European competition.“UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin
When will fixtures be played?
All games will be played on Thursdays just like the Europa League with kick-offs at 5.45pm and 8pm UK time.
The new structure will ensure at least 34 countries recognised by UEFA are represented in the group stage of one or more competitions.
England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France all get one team, while Scotland, Portugal, Netherlands, Russia and Belgium get two.
Where will the UEFA Europa Conference League Final be held?
The two teams lucky enough to make it all the way to the final will head to the the home venue of SK Slavia Prague; The Sinobo Stadium, in the Czech Republic.
Date: Wednesday 7th June 2023.
If West Ham are to make it then don’t expect a lot of tickets, the stadium has a capacity of just 20,800.