The Europa League is a football competition from UEFA in which football teams from Europe compete for the coveted trophy. This annual competition has been played since 1971 and sits just below the Champions League. Teams qualify for entry to the Europa League by performing well in their respective domestic leagues and cups and there are 48 teams in the official group stage of the competition. Read on to learn more about the competition and discover the current favourites in UEFA Europa League betting.
The Rebranding of the UEFA Cup
The competition has been called the Europa League since the 2009/2010 season, after being re-named from its original title, the UEFA Cup. This re-branding of the cup coincided with a change in the rules, which saw the competition come together with the Intertoto Cup to form a bigger competition with an extended group stage.
The UEFA Cup now refers to the trophy the winning team is awarded at the Europa League. Since the re-branding of the competition, the winners are allowed to keep a full-size replica of the trophy with the actual UEFA Cup always remaining at the UEFA headquarters.
Qualifying for the Europa League
Many of the largest clubs in European football play in the Europa League. To gain entry to the competition, clubs normally have to finish runners up in their respective domestic leagues or win their league cup. The winners of the league qualify for entry to the Champion’s League, the higher-level competition, which takes precedence over the Europa Cup.
The competition format begins with a preliminary round of 16 teams and the first qualifying round of 94 teams. We then have the second qualifying round, third qualifying round and the play-offs. After this comes the Europa League group stage with 48 teams and the knock-out phase which begins with the remaining 32 teams.
The Europa League Finals
Some of the top teams competing in the Europa League this season include Sevilla, Arsenal, Manchester United, Roma, Gent, Rangers, Saint Etienne, Porto and Munchengladbach. It is also the first time in the competition for Olexandriya from the Ukraine, who join competition stalwarts and fellow countrymen Dynamo Kyiv.
Last year’s winners, Sevilla, are one of the favourites to win, along with Arsenal. Manchester United’s Europa League chances are good, while Porto and Roma are also being as strong contenders.