UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE is an annual football club competition
UEFA since 1971 for eligible European football clubs.
Clubs qualify for the competition based on their performance in their
national leagues and cup competitions.
Previously called the
UEFA CUP, the competition has been known as the
UEFA Europa League since the 2009–10 season , following a change
in format. For
UEFA footballing records purposes, the
UEFA Cup and
UEFA Europa League are considered the same competition, with the
change of name being simply a rebranding.
In 1999 , the
UEFA Cup Winners\' Cup was abolished and merged with
UEFA Cup. For the 2004–05 competition a group stage was added
prior to the knockout phase. The 2009 re-branding included a merge
UEFA Intertoto Cup , producing an enlarged competition
format, with an expanded group stage and changed qualifying criteria.
The winner of the
UEFA Europa League qualifies for the
UEFA Super Cup
, and from the 2014–15 season onwards the winner of the
League also qualifies for the next edition of the
League . The winner enters at least at the play-off round (assuming
they do not already qualify through domestic performance), and will
enter the group stage if the berth reserved for the Champions League
title holders is not used.
The title has been won by 28 different clubs, 12 of which have won
the title more than once. The most successful club in the competition
are Sevilla with five titles and the current champions are Manchester
United after defeating Ajax in the final to win the 2016–17 UEFA
Europa League .
* 1 History
* 3 Anthem
* 4 Format
* 4.1 Qualification
* 4.2 Background
* 4.3 Historical formats
* 4.4 Current format
* 4.5 Distribution (from 2015–16)
* 4.5.1 Redistribution rules
* 4.6 Format changes (from 2018–19)
* 5 Referees
* 6 Prize money
* 7 Sponsorship
* 8 Records and statistics
* 8.1 Winners
* 9 References
* 10 External links
UEFA Cup was preceded by the
Inter-Cities Fairs Cup , which was a
European football competition played between 1955 and 1971. The
competition grew from 11 teams during the first cup (1955–58 ) to 64
teams by the last cup which was played in 1970–71 . It had become so
important on the European football scene that in the end it was taken
UEFA and relaunched the following season as the
UEFA Cup was first played in the 1971–72 season, with an
all-English final of
Wolverhampton Wanderers versus Tottenham Hotspur
, with Spurs taking the first honours. The title was retained by
another English club, Liverpool in 1973, beating Borussia
Mönchengladbach in the final. Borussia would win the competition in
1975 and 1979, and reach the final again in 1980. Liverpool won the
competition for the second time in 1976, beating Club Brugge in the
During the 1980s,
IFK Göteborg (1982 and 1987) and Real Madrid (1985
and 1986) won the competition twice each, with Anderlecht reaching two
consecutive finals, winning in 1983 and losing to Tottenham Hotspur in
1984. 1989 saw the commencement of the Italian clubs' domination, when
Maradona's Napoli beat Stuttgart . The 1990s started with two
all-Italian finals, and in 1992, Torino lost the final to Ajax on the
away goals rule . Juventus won the competition for a third time in
1993 and Internazionale kept the cup in
Italy the following year. 1995
saw a third all-Italian final, with Parma proving their consistency,
after two consecutive Cup Winners' Cup finals. The only final with no
Italians during that decade was in 1996. Internazionale reached the
final the following two years, losing in 1997 to Schalke 04 on
penalties, and winning yet another all-Italian final in 1998, taking
home the cup for the third time in only eight years. Parma won the cup
in 1999, which ended the Italian club era. Match between Lech
Poznan and Deportivo La Coruña in 2008–09 season.
Liverpool won the competition for the third time in 2001 and Porto
triumphed in the 2003 and 2011 tournaments, with the latter against
Portuguese team Braga . In 2004, the cup returned to
Valencia being victorious, and then Sevilla succeeded on two
consecutive occasions in 2006 and 2007, the latter in a final against
fellow Spaniards Espanyol . Either side of Sevilla's success, two
Russian teams, CSKA Moscow in 2005 and Zenit Saint Petersburg in 2008,
had their glory and yet another former Soviet club, Ukraine's Shakhtar
Donetsk , won in 2009.
Atlético Madrid would themselves win twice in
three seasons, in 2010 and 2012, the latter in another all-Spanish
final. In 2013, Chelsea would become the first Champions League
holders to win the
UEFA Cup/Europa League the following year. In 2014
Sevilla won their third cup in eight years after beating Benfica on
penalties. Just one year later, in 2015, Sevilla won their fourth UEFA
Cup/Europa League, becoming the most successful club in the
The competition was traditionally open to the runners-up of domestic
leagues, but the competition was merged with UEFA's previous
second-tier European competition, the
UEFA Cup Winners\' Cup , in
1999. Since then, the winners of domestic cup competitions have also
UEFA Cup. Also, clubs eliminated in the third qualifying
round of the
UEFA Champions League and the third placed teams at the
end of the group phase could go on to compete in the
UEFA Cup. Winners
of some selected domestic
League Cup competitions are also admitted.
Since the 2009–10 season, the competition has been known as the
UEFA Europa League. At the same time, the
UEFA Intertoto Cup ,
UEFA's third-tier competition, was discontinued and merged into the
new Europa League.
UEFA Cup, also known as the Coupe UEFA, is the trophy awarded
UEFA to the football club that wins the
League. Before the 2009–10 season , both the competition and the
trophy were known as 'the
Before the competition was renamed the
UEFA Europa League in the
2009–10 season , the
UEFA regulations stated that a club could keep
the original trophy for a year before returning it to UEFA. After its
return, the club could keep a four-fifths scale replica of the
original trophy. Upon their third consecutive win or fifth win
overall, a club could retain the trophy permanently. Under the new
regulations, however, the trophy remains in UEFA's keeping at all
times. A full-size replica trophy is awarded to each winner of the
competition. Also a club that wins three consecutive times or five
times overall will receive a multiple-winner badge. As of 2016–17 ,
only Sevilla have earned the right to wear the multiple-winner badge,
having achieved both prerequired feats in 2016 .
The trophy was designed and crafted by Bertoni for the 1972
Final . It weighs 15 kg and is silver on a yellow marble plinth.
The competition's first anthem was composed by Yohann Zveig and
recorded by the
Paris Opera in early 2009. The theme for the
UEFA Cup competition was first officially unveiled at the
Grimaldi Forum on 28 August 2009 before the 2009–10 season group
stage draw. The anthem is to be played before every Europa League game
at a stadium hosting such an event and also before every television
broadcast of a Europa League game as a musical element of the
competition's opening sequence.
A new anthem was composed by Michael Kadelbach and recorded in Berlin
and was launched as part of the competition's rebranding at the start
of the 2015–16 season .
Qualification for the competition is based on
UEFA coefficients ,
with better entrance rounds being offered to the more successful
nations. In practice, each association has a standard number of three
* Nations ranked 52 and 53 (Andorra and San Marino in the 2013–14
season), which have two berths
* The nation ranked 54 (Gibraltar in the 2014–15 season) which has
* Liechtenstein , which qualifies only the Cup Winners
Usually, each country's places are awarded to teams who finish in
various runners-up places in its top-flight league and the winner of
the main cup competition . Typically the teams qualifying via the
league are those in the highest places not eligible for the UEFA
Champions League ; however, the Belgian league awards one place via a
playoff between First A and First B teams. A few countries have
secondary cup competitions, but the only ones whose winners are
currently granted a
UEFA Europa League are England\'s and France\'s .
A team may qualify for European competitions through more than one
route. In all cases, if a club is eligible to enter the
League then the Champions League place takes precedence and the club
does not enter the
UEFA Europa League. The
UEFA Europa League place is
then granted to another club. If a team qualifies for European
competition through both winning a cup and league placing, the "spare"
UEFA Europa League place will go to the highest placed league team
which has not already qualified for European competition, depending on
the rules of the national association.
The top three ranked associations may qualify for the fourth berth if
both the Champions League and Europa League champions are from that
association and do not qualify for European competition through their
domestic performance. In that case, the fourth placed team in that
association will join the Europa League instead of the Champions
League, in addition to their other qualifying teams.
More recently, clubs that are knocked out of the qualifying round and
the group stage of the Champions League can also join the
League, at different stages (see below). Formerly, the reigning
champions qualified to defend their title, but since 2015 they qualify
for the Champions League. From 1995 to 2015, three leagues gained one
extra team via the
UEFA Respect Fair Play ranking .
UEFA coefficients were introduced in 1980 and, until 1999, they gave
a greater number of berths in
UEFA Cup to the more successful nations.
Three nations had four places, five nations had three places, thirteen
nations had two places, and eleven nations only one place. Since 1999,
a similar system has been used for the
UEFA Champions League . Before
1980, the entrance criteria of the last
Fairs Cup was used.
The competition was traditionally a pure knockout tournament. All
ties were two-legged , including the final. Starting with the
1997–98 season , the final became a one-off match, but all other
ties remained two-legged.
Before the 2004–05 season , the tournament consisted of one
qualifying round, followed by a series of knockout rounds. The sixteen
non-qualifiers from the final qualifying round of the Champions League
entered at the first round proper; later in the tournament, the
survivors were joined by third-place finishers from the (first) group
phase of the Champions League.
From the 2004–05 season, the competition started with two knockout
qualifying rounds held in July and August. Participants from
associations ranked 18 and lower entered the first qualifying round
with those from associations ranked 9–18 joining them in the second
qualifying round. In addition, three places in the first qualifying
round were reserved for the
UEFA Fair Play ranking winners (until
2015/16), and eleven places in the second qualifying round for the
UEFA Intertoto Cup winners.
Winners of the qualifying rounds then joined teams from the
associations ranked 1–13 in the first round proper. In addition,
non-qualifiers in the third qualifying round of the Champions League
also joined the competition at this point along with the current
title-holders (unless they had qualified for the Champions League via
their national league), for a total of 80 teams in the first round.
After the first knockout round, the 40 survivors entered a group
phase, with the clubs being drawn into eight groups of five each.
Unlike the Champions League group phase, the
UEFA Cup group phase was
played in a single round-robin format, with each club playing two home
and two away games. The top three teams in each of the eight groups
qualified for the main knockout round along with the eight
third-placed teams in the Champions League group phase. From then on a
series of two-legged knockout ties were played before a single-legged
final, traditionally held on the Wednesday in May immediately
preceding the Champions League final.
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From the 2009–10 season , the competition has been rebranded as the
UEFA Europa League in a bid to increase the competition's profile. As
well as changing the competition's name, an extra 8 teams now qualify
for the main stages of the competition, with the group stage
consisting of 12 groups of four teams (in a double round robin ), with
the top two placed teams in each group progressing. The competition
then progresses in much the same way as the previous format, with 4
rounds of two-legged knockout rounds and a one-off final held at a
neutral ground meeting UEFA's
Category Four stadium criteria . The
final is played in May, on the Wednesday ten days before the Champions
Qualification has changed significantly. Associations ranked 7–9 in
UEFA coefficients sent the Cup winner and three (two since
2015–16 season) other teams to the
UEFA Europa League qualification,
all other nations sent a Cup winner and two other teams, except
Andorra and San Marino, who sent only a Cup winner and a runner-up,
and Liechtenstein, who sent only a Cup winner. Since Gibraltar was
accepted as a full
UEFA member at the
UEFA congress held in
24 May 2013, their Cup winner is also sent. Usually, the other teams
will be the next highest ranked clubs in each domestic league after
those qualifying for the
UEFA Champions League, however France and
England will continue to use one spot for their
League Cup winner.
With the scrapping of the Intertoto Cup there will no longer be spaces
reserved in the qualifying rounds for teams qualifying through that
route. Generally, the higher an association is ranked in the UEFA
coefficients, the later its clubs start in the qualification, however,
every team except for the title-holder (up to 2014–15 season) and
the highest ranked teams (usually the cup winner and/or the best UEFA
Europa League qualified team) from the top (six in 2012–15 seasons,
12 since 2015–16 season) associations had to play at least one
Apart from the teams mentioned, an additional 15 teams from the third
Champions League qualification round entered in the fourth and last
UEFA Europa League qualification round, formerly known as the first
round, and the ten non-qualifiers of the Champions League
qualification pay-off round directly entered the
UEFA Europa League
group stage. The 12 winners and the 12 runners-up in the group stage
advanced to the first knock out round, together with eight 3rd placed
teams from the Champions League group stage. The losing finalist for
the domestic cup competition was entitled to be entered for the UEFA
Europa League should the domestic cup winners qualify for the UEFA
From 2015–16, the distribution was changed to broaden the appeal of
the competition, namely through giving the Europa League champions a
Champions League qualification berth, an expansion in teams qualifying
for the group stage and mandating that places go to league teams if
cup winners qualify for European competition.
DISTRIBUTION (FROM 2015–16)
TEAMS ENTERING IN THIS ROUND
TEAMS ADVANCING FROM PREVIOUS ROUND
TEAMS TRANSFERRED FROM CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
First qualifying round
* 31 domestic cup winners from associations 24–54
* 35 domestic league runners-up from associations 18–53 (except
* 35 domestic league third-placed teams from associations 16–51
* 3 teams which qualified via Fair Play ranking
* (this is no longer applicable as of the beginning of the 2015/16
season, see also
UEFA Respect Fair Play ranking ).
Second qualifying round
* 6 domestic cup winners from associations 18–23
* 2 domestic league runners-up from associations 16–17
* 6 domestic league fourth-placed teams from associations 10–15
* 52 winners from first qualifying round
Third qualifying round
* 5 domestic cup winners from associations 13–17
* 9 domestic league third-placed teams from associations 7–15
* 5 domestic league fourth-placed teams from associations 5–9
* 3 domestic league fifth-placed teams from associations 4–6
League Cup winners for France)
* 3 domestic league sixth-placed teams from associations 1–3
League Cup winners for England)
* 33 winners from second qualifying round
* 29 winners from third qualifying round
* 15 losers from Champions League third qualifying round
* 12 domestic cup winners from associations 1–12
* 1 domestic league fourth-placed team from association 4
* 3 domestic league fifth-placed teams from associations 1–3
* 22 winners from play-off round
* 10 losers from Champions League play-off round
* 12 group winners from group stage
* 12 group runners-up from group stage
* 8 third-placed teams from Champions League group stage
The access list above is provisional, as changes will need to be made
in the following cases:
* If the Champions League title holders or the Europa League title
holders have qualified for the Europa League through domestic
performance, their berth in the Europa League is vacated (not replaced
by another team from the same association), and cup winners of the
highest-ranked associations are moved to a later round accordingly.
* In some cases where changes to the access list of the Champions
League are made, the number of losers of the Champions League third
qualifying round which are transferred to the Europa League is
increased or decreased from the default number of 15, which means
changes to the access list of the Europa League will also need to be
* Because a maximum of five teams from one association can enter the
UEFA Champions League, if both the Champions League title holders and
the Europa League title holders are from the same top three ranked
association and finish outside the top four of their domestic league,
the fourth-placed team of their association will be moved to the
Europa League and enter the group stage, which means changes to the
access list of the Europa League may also need to be made.
A Europa League place is vacated when a team qualifies for both the
Champions League and the Europa League, or qualifies for the Europa
League by more than one method. When a place is vacated, it is
redistributed within the national association by the following rules
(regulations Articles 3.03 and 3.04):
* When the domestic cup winners (considered as the "highest-placed"
qualifier within the national association with the latest starting
round) also qualify for the Champions League, their Europa League
place is vacated. As a result, the highest-placed team in the league
which have not yet qualified for European competitions qualify for the
Europa League, with the Europa League qualifiers which finish above
them in the league moved up one "place" (the 2015–16 season will be
the first with this particular arrangement where the domestic cup
runners-up are no longer guaranteed a place in the Europa League in
* When the domestic cup winners also qualify for the Europa League
through league position, their place through the league position is
vacated. As a result, the highest-placed team in the league which have
not yet qualified for European competitions qualify for the Europa
League, with the Europa League qualifiers which finish above them in
the league moved up one "place" if possible.
* For associations where a Europa League place is reserved for the
League Cup winners, they always qualify for the Europa League as the
"lowest-placed" qualifier. If the
League Cup winners have already
qualified for European competitions through other methods, this
reserved Europa League place is taken by the highest-placed team in
the league which have not yet qualified for European competitions.
FORMAT CHANGES (FROM 2018–19)
Beginning with the 2018–19 tournament , all domestic champions
eliminated in the qualifying rounds of the
UEFA Champions League will
transfer to the Europa League, rather than just teams that are
eliminated in the third-qualifying and play-off rounds. Europa League
qualifying will also provide a separate champions route for these
teams, allowing more opportunities for domestic league champions to
compete against each other.
The Europa League have implemented the extra officials rule since
September 2009. Under the rule, there are a total of six officials:
the main referee, two assistant referees, fourth official of the
sideline, and two extra assistants (one alongside each goal).
Similar to the
UEFA Champions League, the prize money received by the
clubs is divided into fixed payments based on participation and
results, and variable amounts that depend of the value of their TV
For the 2016/2017 season , group stage participation in the Europa
League awarded a base fee of €2.6 million. A victory in the group
pays €360,000 and a draw €120,000. Also, each group winner earns
€600,000 and each runner-up €300,000. Reaching the knock-out stage
triggers additional bonuses: €500,000 for the round of 32,
€750,000 for the round of 16, €1 million for the quarter-finals
and €1.6 million for the semi-finals. The losing finalists receive
€3.5 million and the champions receive €6.5 million.
* First qualifying round: €215,000
* Second qualifying round: €225,000
* Third qualifying round: €235,000
* Play-off round elimination: €245,000
* Base fee for group stage: €2,600,000
* Group match victory: €360,000
* Group match draw: €120,000
* Group winners: €600,000
* Group runners-up: €300,000
* Round of 32: €500,000
* Round of 16: €750,000
* Quarter-finals: €1,000,000
* Semi-finals: €1,600,000
* Losing finalist: €3,500,000
* Winners: €6,500,000
UEFA Europa League is sponsored by five multinational
corporations; the current tournament sponsors are:
FedEx (the main sponsor)
Hankook Tire .
Heineken International (Amstel being the main brand, with local
brands being also advertised)
Adidas is a secondary sponsor and supplies the official match ball,
as it does for all other
Konami 's Pro Evolution
Soccer is also a secondary sponsor as the official Europa League video
Since the inception of Europa League brand, the tournament has used
its own hoardings (in that year it debuted in the round of 32) like
UEFA Champions League. LED hoardings made their debut in the 2012–13
final and will appear in 2015–16 season from the round of 16; in the
same season, from the group stage, teams are not allowed to show their
Individual clubs may wear jerseys with advertising, even if such
sponsors conflict with those of the Europa League. However, only one
sponsorship is permitted per jersey unless it is a non profit sponsor
(plus that of the manufacturer), and if clubs play a match in a
country where the relevant sponsorship category is restricted (such as
alcohol in the case of France), then they must remove that logo from
RECORDS AND STATISTICS
UEFA Cup and Europa League records and statistics See
also: List of
UEFA Cup and Europa League top scorers
UEFA Cup finals were played over two legs until 1997 . The first
final was played on 3 May 1972 in
Wolverhampton and 17 May 1972 in
London . The first leg between
Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham
Hotspur was won 2–1 by the away side. The second leg finished as a
1–1 draw, meaning that Tottenham Hotspur became the first
The one-match finals in pre-selected venues were introduced in 1998.
A venue must meet or exceed
Category three standards to host UEFA
Cup finals. On two occasions, the final was played at a finalist's
Borussia Dortmund at
De Kuip ,
Rotterdam , in 2002 , and Sporting CP lost to CSKA Moscow at their own
Estádio José Alvalade ,
Lisbon , in 2005 .
The winner of the last
UEFA Cup final (prior to the competition being
rebranded as the
UEFA Europa League) was Shakhtar Donetsk on 20 May
2009. The Ukrainian team beat Werder Bremen of
Germany 2–1 at
Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium ,
The first ever winner of the rebranded Europa League was Atlético
Madrid , beating
Premier League side Fulham 2–1 after extra time.
Main article: List of
UEFA Cup and Europa League finals
2006 , 2007 , 2014 , 2015 , 2016
1977 , 1990 , 1993
1991 , 1994 , 1998
1973 , 1976 , 2001
1975 , 1979
1973 , 1980
1972 , 1984
1985 , 1986
1982 , 1987
1995 , 1999
1974 , 2002
2003 , 2011
2010 , 2012
Bayern Munich *
Zenit St. Petersburg
Manchester United *
* Club has won all three major
* ^ The top two teams in each group advance to the round of 32,
where they are joined by the eight third-place teams in the Champions
League group phase.
* ^ A B C "
UEFA Cup gets new name in revamp". BBC Sport (British
Broadcasting Corporation). 26 September 2008. Retrieved 26 September
* ^ A B "
UEFA Cup to become
UEFA Europa League". UEFA.com. Union of
European Football Associations. 26 September 2008. Archived from the
original on 19 December 2008. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
* ^ "New format provides fresh impetus". UEFA.com. Union of
European Football Associations. Retrieved 15 May 2010.
* ^ "
UEFA Europa League History". UEFA.com. Union of European
Football Associations. Retrieved 27 April 2008.
* ^ "Regulations of the
UEFA Cup 2007/08, page 6, II Cup and
Medals, Article 4, Cup" (PDF). Union of European Football
Associations. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 June 2006.
Retrieved 1 August 2009.
* ^ "Regulations of the
UEFA Europa League 2009/10, page 7, III
Trophies and medals, Article 5, Trophy" (PDF). Union of European
Football Associations. Retrieved 1 August 2009.
* ^ "Sevilla make it three in row at Liverpool\'s expense".
UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. 27 May 2015.
Retrieved 28 May 2015.
* ^ "
UEFA Europa League History". Union of European Football
Associations. Retrieved 1 August 2009.
* ^ "
UEFA Europa League anthem makes debut". UEFA.com. Union of
European Football Associations. 28 August 2009. Retrieved 12 September
* ^ "
UEFA Europa League anthem". UEFA.com. Union of European
Football Associations. 1 September 2015. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
* ^ 2009/10 Competition format, UEFA.com
* ^ "Distribution details". UEFA.org. 23 March 2015.
* ^ "
UEFA Access List 2015/18 with explanations" (PDF). Bert
* ^ "How the Europa League winners will enter the Champions
League". UEFA.com. 27 February 2015.
* ^ "
UEFA club competitions rights sales process for 2018-21 cycle
kicks off". UEFA.com. 12 December 2016.
* ^ uefadirect 7/09 p.7
* ^ "2016/17 Europa League revenue distribution". UEFA.com. Union
of European Football Associations. 26 August 2016. Retrieved 29
* ^ "
Enterprise Rent-A-Car becomes an official partner of the UEFA
Europa League". UEFA.org. UEFA. 9 June 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
* ^ "
FedEx to become Main Sponsor of the
UEFA Europa League". UEFA.
UEFA.com. 15 May 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
* ^ "Hankook renews official sponsor status for the
League". UEFA.org. UEFA. 16 June 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
* ^ "Amstel Brand". The Heineken Company. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
* ^ "
UniCredit renews and expands with Uefa". SportsProMedia.com.
SportsPro. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
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