The Start of the UEFA Europa Conference League
The 2021/22 season is the first season of the UEFA Conference League. Designed as UEFA's third tier European competition UEFA once again have three major season-long competitions. After the demise of the European Cup Winners Cup in 1999, and the end of the Intertoto Cup in 2008, the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League prior to this season were the only competitions left in the UEFA competition stable.
In the last 20 to 30 years the Champions League and the Europa League (previously the UEFA) Cup has seen clubs from the 'smaller' European leagues have difficulty in getting through the early stages of these competitions. Naturally these leagues became slightly disillusioned with the situation and UEFA created the Conference League.
Operating on a similar system to the other two competitions, the Conference league has been designed with qualifying rounds, a group stage and back into knockout round play offs before a final at the end of the season. Which route a club takes to the final could be vastly different and is based on league positions, UEFA country coefficients and many other factors. Clubs can also drop into the competition after being knocked out from the Champions League or Europa League paths.
First UEFA Europa Conference League Season
In this first ever Conference league season Maltese club Mosta scored the first goal, back in July 2021 to get the tournament underway. Maccabi Tel Aviv scored the first group stage goal in September 2021.
Since then over 250 goals have been scored and air miles have been clocked up as clubs go in search of the honour of being the first club to lift the trophy at the Arena Kombetare in Tirana, Albania on 25 May 2022.
There have been big wins...
- IF Elfsborg 9-0 Milsami
- The New Saints 10 1 Kauno Zalgiris
- Maccabi Haifa 7-2 HB
- FK Bodo/Glimt 6-1 AS Roma
- Rosenborg BK 6-1 NK Domzale
- LASK 6-1 Vojvodina Novi Sad
...and also plenty of goals with Arthur Cabral of FC Basel in scoring 13 of them. So far the competition has been deemed as a success.
Top UEFA Europa Champions League Teams
With no previous winners below is a list of teams to look out for in this season's competition:
Roma: Despite that crushing 6-1 defeat at Bodo/Glimt the Italian giants are still one of the big clubs in Europe and apart from that defeat are unbeaten in the Europa Conference League Group Stage.
Leicester City: Sitting in mid-table in the Premier League the Foxes will look to kick-off some momentum in the Conference league, especially at the King Power Stadium.
Marseille: The French giants have won the Champions League and will see this competition as a way back to the big-time.
Rennes: The team based at Stade Rennais topped the toughest group, Group G to progress, Tottenham Hotspur finished third in that group. Controversy surrounded the group stage league match at Spurs that was postponed due to COVID in the Spurs squad. Much to the disgust of boss Antonio Conte, Rennes were awarded the points which gave them a leg-up to win the group that Vitesse finished second in and NS Mura bottom.
Celtic: One half of the Scottish old firm, the Bhoys crave success in Europe and will be going all out.
Other contenders include Midtjylland, PAOK, Partizan Belgrade, PSV Eindhoven, Slavia Prague and Fenerbahce.
Conference League Tickets
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