UEFA to establish third club competition in 2021

UEFA has confirmed that it will establish a third European club competition ‘The UEFA Europa Conference League – UECL’, beginning in 2021.

President Aleksander Ceferin confirmed the development of the UECL at UEFA’s executive committee meeting in Nyon (Switzerland), detailing that the competition would allow for ‘more clubs to participate and benefit’ from European football formats.

At present details remain scarce with regards to how UEFA governance will structure the UECL, however, it is believed that the competition will favour the participation of smaller European footballing nations.

The development of the UECL forms part of UEFA restructuring its club competition for the period of 2021-2024, in which the governing body will reduce the Europa League competition to 32 teams.

Further changes, see the format of the Europa League, which has come under criticism for being too convoluted and arduous for participating clubs, is set to be restricted to the top-15 UEFA coefficient leagues.

Though UEFA is yet to present finalised details on the UECL, the BBC reports that only one Premiership team will be allowed to qualify for the UECL competition, via a play-off.

In its announcement, UEFA governance details that the formation of the UECL will be undertaken for the benefit of developing football leagues.

European football previously held a long-running third competition for domestic cup winners, the UEFA Cup Winners Cup, which was disbanded in 2001.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: “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.”

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