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Thumbs up for the UEFA Europa League

As the UEFA Europa League enters its second three-year cycle,  UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino said the competition "embodies the true allure and spirit of playing in Europe".

The UEFA Europa League trophy
The UEFA Europa League trophy ©Sportsfile

The UEFA Europa League has established itself as a top-notch European club competition and is enjoying considerable commercial success too.

At the draw for the third qualifying round at the House of European Football in Nyon on Friday, UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino said: "The UEFA Europa League is now beginning its second three-year cycle, and despite some few detractors, it is a competition which embodies the true allure and spirit of playing in Europe – and it is also strongly supported by you, the clubs, and by the fans across Europe.

"For this second cycle, we have also seen strong support from the commercial side with a new presenting sponsor, a new sponsor announced and one more to come, plus an official supplier staying on board," added Infantino. "In total revenues for the new cycle are up an estimated 12%."

"All of this gives us strong indicators that the UEFA Europa League is now becoming more well-known and accepted, especially since the format with a 48-team group phase was established."

Infantino also took the opportunity to warn the clubs of negative elements that were menacing football's well-being. "I must issue a stark reminder to everyone that we are still confronted with, almost weekly, fresh allegations and rumours of match-fixing," he said. "This continues to be the greatest threat to our game as it touches the very soul of football.

"I therefore ask you to be on your guard and to report any suspicions that you or your players may have, or if anyone approaches you. UEFA will not hesitate to come down extremely hard on anyone involved and who is prosecuted in this regard. Our policy is, and remains, one of zero tolerance and we must work together to make sure this policy is upheld."