The UEFA executive council has ratified a decision to introduce a third UEFA club football championship, titled ‘Europa League 2’. This new championship will be introduced from the 2021 season. Europa league 2, comes after the UEFA Champions League and the second tier club competition, the UEFA Europa League.
UEFA Europa League 2 will be played on Thursdays, alongside the EUFA Europa League. UEFA Champions League will still be played on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
One English team will enter the play-offs of the new tournament, while Scottish sides may miss out on Europa League places in a reshuffle.
The current Europa League will be halved in size to 32 teams with an extra play-off round between the group stage and last 16.
Every country’s champions will still enter the Champions League, but only teams from the 15 top-ranked countries will go into the Europa League group stages or qualifiers.
That means teams from leagues below that level – which at the moment would include Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, excluding their champions – would go straight into the UEFA Europa League 2 qualifying rounds.
The new competition and Europa League will have the same format – eight groups of four teams with the winners going into the last 16. There will be a play-off before that round for the teams who finish second in the group and sides who finish third in the groups of the higher tournament.
The winners of the tournament will qualify for the following season’s UEFA Europa League.
UEFA executive council has lauded the latest decision saying it will make the competitions more inclusive. “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,” said the UEFA president, Aleksander Ceferin
This latest move will be much welcome in countries like England as more clubs from the English Premier League, EPL, will qualify for UEFA competitions.