Europa Conference League: All you need to know about the first season of the new European League

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The long-awaited Europa Conference League will commence in the coming 2021-2022 season and all is set for the third-tier European club tournament.

Unlike the UEFA Champions League matches that usually take place on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, the Europa Conference League matches will take place on Thursday nights alongside the Europa League.

Before the Europa Conference League will commence fully, there are going to be playoff games for some of the teams. The draws for the playoff round of the new tournament will take place on Monday, August 2, 2021, at 12:30 BST.

The clubs that are looking forward to knowing the club they will play against in the playoff round include Tottenham Hotspur, Union Berlin, AS Roma, and Rennes. Spurs and Roma will be seeded during the draws which means Jose Mourinho of Roma will not face his former club (Spurs) anytime soon.

At the time of publishing this report, there are still some clubs that are yet to qualify for the final play-off round of the Europa Conference League. Those clubs which include, Aberdeen, Hibernian, The New Saints, Larne, and Linfield would have to go through the third qualifying round of the tournament before they can make it to the play-offs.

Clubs like Bohemians, Shamrock and Dundalk, Anderlecht, and FC Basel, would also have to overcome third qualifying round games before they can make it to the play-offs. This means that no club will automatically qualify for the group stage of the conference league.

The third qualifying round of the tournament will take place on 5 and 12 August. After that, the play-off round will take place on 19 and 26 of August 2021.

Any club that win the two-legged playoff games, will qualify for the group stage of the Europa Conference League. Clubs like Celtic and St Johnstone of Scotland could feature in the Conference League if they lose their Europa League qualifying games.

When all the clubs that will participate in the Europa Conference League have been confirmed and the play-off round is over, the draw for the group stage of the tournament will take place on August 27, 2021. And the group games will start in September and end in December.

More about the Europa Conference League

Europa Conference League: All you need to know about the first season of the new European League
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin holding the Europa Conference League trophy.

As mentioned earlier, the Europa Conference League is the third-tier league of European club football. The league was created to give opportunity for more leagues in Europe to play European club football.

The preparation for this league has been on since 2018. It has been arranged in such a way that it would not affect the Champions League. The major effect it has on the Europa League is that the Europa League group stage has been reduced from 48 to 32 teams because of the new tournament.

Also, an extra playoff round has been introduced to Europa League which will usually come up between the group stage and the last 16.

Based on the structure of the Europa Conference League, all the clubs that would have qualified for the preliminary, first, and second qualifying rounds of the Europa League, will make up the bulk of teams that will feature in the new tournament.

The final of the first season of the Europa Conference League will take place on May 25, 2021, in Tirana, Albania.

Any club that emerge champions of the Conference League will automatically qualify for the following season’s Europa League if they have not qualified for the Champions League via their domestic leagues.

Below are the fixtures for the third qualifying round of the Conference League which will be played on 5 and 12 August 2021.

Maccabi Haifa (ISR) v HB Torshavn (FRO)

Linfield (NIR) v Fola Esch (LUX)

Shamrock Rovers (IRL) v Teuta (ALB)

Riga FC (LVA) v Hibernians (MLT)

Prishtina (KOS) v Bodo/Glimt (NOR)

Main path

Dinamo Batumi (GEO) v Sivasspor (TUR)

KuPS Kuopio (FIN) v Astana (KAZ)

Sochi (RUS) v Partizan (SRB)

Sląsk Wrocław (POL) v Hapoel Beer-Sheva (ISR)

Santa Clara (POR) v Olimpija Ljubljana (SVN)

Ujpest (HUN) v Basel (SUI)

Kolos Kovalivka (UKR) v Shakhter Karagandy (KAZ)

Elfsborg (SWE) v Velez (BIH)

Paços de Ferreira (POR) v Larne (NIR)

FC Luzern (SUI) v Feyenoord (NED)

RFS (LVA) v Gent (BEL)

Hibernian (SCO) v Rijeka (CRO)

Breidablik (ISL) v Aberdeen (SCO)

Trabzonspor (TUR) v Molde (NOR)

Bohemians (IRL) v PAOK (GRE)

The New Saints (WAL) v Viktoria Plzen (CZE)

Rakow Czestochowa (POL) v Rubin (RUS)

Lokomotiv Plovdiv (BUL) v Copenhagen (DEN)

Cukaricki (SRB) v Hammarby (SWE)

Tobol Kostanay (KAZ) v Zilina (SVK)

CSKA-Sofia (BUL) v Osijek (CRO)

Vojvodina (SRB) v LASK (AUT)

Limassol (CYP) v Qarabag (AZE)

Spartak Trnava (SVK) v Maccabi Tel-Aviv (ISR)

Rosenborg (NOR) v Domzale (SVN)

Laç (ALB) v Anderlecht (BEL)

Vitesse (NED) v Dundalk (IRL)

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