From 2021 there will be even more European football with UEFA announcing the introduction of a third club competition.
The tentatively titled ‘Europa League 2’ won’t affect the Champions League with each country’s domestic champions still entering that competition.
The real changes hit the Europa League which will see its participants halved to 32 teams and only teams from the top 15 ranked countries will have the chance to feature in the Europa League.
The new competition will see matches played alongside Europa League fixtures on Thursday nights European time, and will be run using the same structure: eight groups of four into a round of 16, quarter finals, semi finals and a final.
However, there will now be a playoff round after the group stage and before the round of 16 between the second-placed teams in ‘Europa League 2’ and the third-ranked teams in the Europa League.
The winner of the tournament will automatically qualify for the next tier of continental competition.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin discussed the benefits of the competition.
“The new competition makes UEFA’s club competitions more inclusive than ever before,” he said.
“There will be more matches for more clubs, with more associations represented in the group stages.”
More football can’t be a bad thing and the quasi-equalisation through use of the coefficient in determining which Europa League teams play in is distinctly similar to the way in which the UEFA Nations League is structured.
In that competition, the contests have been relatively even and the chance to play against opposition at the same level has been a positive.
The same principles should translate to ‘Europa League 2’ and it should be a roaring success.