The Europa League is a yearly soccer tournament organized by UEFA since 1971. The championship receives contestants from across Europe, depending on their performance in the local leagues. It is the second most popular European championship after the Champions League.
The League rebranded and revised its format in the 2009/10 season from the previous UEFA Cup to UEFA Europa League.
Read on below to discover all the facts you ever wanted to know about this league.
The League has a long history. Before it changed its name in 2009, the winner kept the original cup for a year before returning it to UEFA. Afterwards, the winner kept four to five scale replicas of the original prize.
After winning it three times in a row or after scooping it five times overall, the winner could keep the original UEFA Cup. Now, the League’s revised rules require that UEFA keeps the trophy every time. The governing body awards a complete duplicate of the original cup to the winner.
Instead of retaining the cup after winning it thrice consecutively, the champion receives a Multiple-Winner Badge. So far, only Sevilla has achieved this feat by defending the title successfully two times in a row. Overall, 28 clubs have won the Championship. Out of these, only 13 have won it more than once.
Just like its big brother, the Champions League, the UEFA League is also dominated by Spanish clubs. For instance, Sevilla is the only team that has won the trophy five times.
Also, it’s the only three-times winner in a row to emulate what Real Madrid did in the Champions League. It’s the only club with the coveted Multiple-Winner Badge and the only team that has won all the finals it has participated in.
Format and rules
The tournament comprises five rounds or stages. The first stage features 32 teams, the second one (the Round of 16) features 16 participants, the third one (the quarter-finals) has 8 clubs, the fourth (the semi-finals) has 4, and the last stage (the final) has two participating clubs.
All teams play against each other twice—home and away. Here, the team that has the best aggregate score advances. However, the final stage has just one match, and it’s played on a neutral ground, just like the Champions League.
In cases of ties, the away goal applies to determine the team that progresses to the next stage.
Trophies and awards
Overall, 28 teams have won this cup at least once. Chelsea is the current champion after beating a fellow English team, Arsenal, 4-1 in a thrilling final.
Europa League implements monetary awards and prizes for participating teams. Therefore, no team leaves the championship empty-handed. Below are the awards each team earns at different stages of the competition:
- Preliminary round: €220,000;
- Second qualifying round: €260,000;
- Third qualifying round: €280,000;
- Play-off round elimination: €300,000;
- The base fee for group stage: €2,920,000;
- Winning a group match: €570,000;
- Group draws: €190,000;
- Group winners earn €1,000,000;
- Group runners-up earn €500,000;
- Participants at the round of 16 earn €1,100,000;
- Quarter finalists earn €1,500,000;
- Semi-finalists earn €2,400,000;
- A losing finalist receives €4,500,000;
- The winner receives €8,500,000.