UEFA Executive Committee approves new club competition

UEFA’s Executive Committee have approved a new club competition, given the working title of UEL2. The new competition was announced following UEFA’s meeting in Dublin. UEL2 will come into action for the 2021-2024 cycle and harmonise the changes to the Europa League.

The Europa League, in its current form of 64 teams, will be split into two with 32 participating in each group stages.

The format will see eight groups of four teams, followed by the round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.

Furthermore, the new competition will feature an additional knock-out round to be played before the round of 16 between teams ranked second in their groups and the 3rd-ranked teams of the Europa League groups.

As a result of the split, the new competition will feature 141 matches over 15 match weeks, exactly like the Europa League with matches being played on Thursdays. However, UEFA have confirmed that the new competition will feature an additional kick-off time slot for a limited number of matches in principle at 16:30 Central European Time.

Similar to the Europa League winner being awarded a Champions League place, the winner of the new competition will be enter in the UEFA Europa League the next year. Continuing with finals, the Executive Committee have stated that all finals will be played in the same week: Wednesday will be the final day for UEL2, Thursday for the Europa League and Saturday will be the day of the final for the UEFA Champions League.

UEFA have attempted to be more inclusive of all associations and the new competition is expected to include at least 34 countries will be represented in the group stages of the UEFA club competitions – as opposed to the minimum guaranteed number of 26 today.

The inclusivity means that all member associations will have access to the three club competitions and all associations will keep the same overall access quota as currently. The 15 top ranked countries will see their teams enter the Europa League qualifiers or group stages.

Although, on the downside of this, it means that cup winners and certain Scottish league teams will be forced into the third tier of European competition due to the current coefficient.

UEFA’s president, Aleksander Ceferin, was delighted as he confirmed the new competition.

“The new 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.

“This competition was born out of ongoing dialogue with clubs through the European Club Association.”

For more information on the new competition see HERE.

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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