UEFA have announced the formation of a third European club competition from the 2021/2022 season which will go hand in hand with the Champions League and Europa League.
The new competition has been named as the Europa Conference League and the matches will be played on Thursdays with the same kick-off times as the Europa League.
The Europa League has included 48 teams in the group stage but the introduction of the new competition will see the inclusion of an additional playoff round to reduce the final number of sides to 32.
Elsewhere, the Europa Conference League is mainly focused on providing the traditionally lesser successful countries with a chance of pursuing European glory, thereby offering limited spots for the nations with higher co-efficient points in the UEFA rankings.
For example, England are currently one of UEFA’s top-five ranked nations in terms of the coefficient points and hence, they would have just one spot in the competition, which may be filled by the sixth or seventh-placed Premier League side or the winner of the League Cup.
On the other hand, non-champion sides from nations below 15th in the UEFA coefficient rankings would no longer feature in the Europa League with the new format and they will have to contend with competing for silverware through the Europa Conference League.
The winners of the competition would, however, qualify directly for the Europa League group stage in the following season but that appears the only route for the clubs in the lower-ranked nations, who finish runners-up in their respective top-flight leagues.
Overall, the change will make the Champions League and Europa League more competitive and the difference could be visible more in the latter of those competitions where the group stage has been a cake walk for some of the high-profile teams.