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New approach broadens Europa League appeal

Several changes will further boost the UEFA Europa League's appeal, including the winners earning a place in the UEFA Champions League and more automatic qualifiers.

New approach broadens Europa League appeal
New approach broadens Europa League appeal ©Getty Images

The UEFA Europa League winners will be rewarded with a place in the UEFA Champions League in one of several notable changes introduced to further boost the appeal of a competition which promises to go from strength to strength.

A number of the game's most famous players and clubs have lifted the prestigious trophy during both the UEFA Cup's heyday and, since 2009/10, the UEFA Europa League era. This season's winners will receive more than just the glory of following in the footsteps of the likes of Diego Maradona, Ronaldo, Jürgen Klinsmann and Radamel Falcao.

The team that triumphs in the final in Warsaw on 27 May 2015 will gain a UEFA Champions League place, at minimum entering in the play-offs. If the UEFA Champions League winners qualify automatically through their domestic competition for the 2015/16 group stage, the UEFA Europa League title holders will also enter at the group stage.

The basic UEFA Europa League format will continue, with three qualifying rounds followed by the play-offs, group stage and knockout stage, although the number of clubs entering at each stage do change.

• More teams qualify automatically for the group stage (16, up from seven). These will be the cup winners of the 12 highest-ranked nations, the fourth-placed finisher in the fourth-ranked nation and the fifth-placed finishers in the three top-ranked nations.

• Performances in domestic leagues will be rewarded. If a national cup winner has booked a UEFA Champions League spot, the highest-ranked club in their domestic league not already qualified for the UEFA Europa League will qualify for the competition; national cup runners-up no longer qualify.

• The maximum number of clubs from one association that can qualify for the UEFA Champions League is increased to five.