UEFA Europa Conference League: Teams, format and when will the competition begin?

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UEFA plan to host the Europa conference League for the first time next season.

For the first time since 1999, that there will be three season-long European competitions.

The new competition will be UEFA’s third tier annual continental club competition which will comprise of 32 teams.

This is supposed to be an opportunity for clubs who are knocked out of the Europa League to continue to play European football.

Currently there are 80 teams competing in the European competition every year and with the introduction of the Europa conference League, there will be a total of 96 teams competing in Europe every year.

The format of the tournament will remain similar to that of the Champions League and the Europa League. There will be 3 qualifying rounds and a playoff round before the group stages.

As far as the knockout round is concerned, there will be subtle changes and the group runners up from the eight different groups will take on the eight third placed clubs from the Europa League group stages. The winners will then go on to the round of 16 where they will face the group winners of the Europa conference League.

The qualifying rounds of the conference league is set to begin around 8th of July 2021 and the group stages are set to kick off in the middle of September.

The inaugural final is set to be hosted at the Air Albania stadium in Tirana.