2020/21 UEFA Europa League: all you need to know

When is the group stage? How will qualifying work? Where is the 2021 final?

The futuristic Arena Gdańsk is staging the 2020/21 final
The futuristic Arena Gdańsk is staging the 2020/21 final ©Getty Images

The 2019/20 season is over and the picture for next season is becoming clearer. Here's what we know so far.

Who has qualified for the group stage?

In all, there will be 48 sides in the group stage:

ESP (2): Villarreal, Real Sociedad
ENG (2): Leicester, Arsenal
ITA (2): Napoli, Roma
GER (2): Leverkusen, Hoffenheim
FRA (2): LOSC, Nice
POR (2): Braga, Benfica***
NED (2): Feyenoord, AZ Alkmaar***
AUT (2): Wolfsberg, Rapid Wien***
RUS (1): CSKA Moskva
BEL (1): Royal Antwerp
UKR (1): Zorya Luhansk
TUR (1): Sivasspor
CZE (1): Sparta Praha

18 automatic qualifiers
* 21 play-off winners
** 6 UEFA Champions League play-off losing teams
*** 3 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round losing teams

This list is subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Who are the holders?

Every goal of Sevilla's road to 2020 Europa League glory
Every goal of Sevilla's road to 2020 Europa League glory

Sevilla beat Inter Milan in the 2019/20 final to win the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League for the sixth time. They booked a place in the UEFA Champions League group stage as UEFA Europa League winners.

What are the changes?

With the 2019/20 season finishing on 21 August, the principal change to the 2020/21 calendar is that everything is now a little later. Qualifying, which had been due to begin on 25 June, kicked off on 18 August. The group stage draw will take place on 2 October with the competition proper getting under way on 22 October. The knockout stages will be unchanged from the original schedule.

Video Assistant Referee (VAR) will not be introduced for the group phase, as was planned. It will still be used in the knockout stage, with introduction for the group stage in 2021/22.

2020/21 Europa League calendar


One leg or two? Fans or no fans?

All qualifying ties are single-leg matches. These matches are taking place behind closed doors.

When will matches take place?

Arena Gdańsk will stage the 2020/21 final
Arena Gdańsk will stage the 2020/21 final©Getty Images

Qualifying
18–22/08/2020 Preliminary round
25–27/08/2020 First qualifying round
17/09/2020 Second qualifying round
24/09/2020 Third qualifying round
01/10/2020 Play-offs

Group stage
22/10/2020 Matchday 1
29/10/2020 Matchday 2
05/11/2020 Matchday 3
26/11/2020 Matchday 4
03/12/2020 Matchday 5
10/12/2020 Matchday 6

Knockout stages
18/02/2021–25/02/2021 Round of 32
11/03/2021–18/03/2021 Round of 16
08/04/2021–15/04/2021 Quarter-finals
29/04/2021–06/05/2021 Semi-finals
26/05/2021 Final

Where will the final take place?

Brilliant 2012 Khedira volley at Gdańsk Stadium
Brilliant 2012 Khedira volley at Gdańsk Stadium

The final will take place at Poland's Gdańsk Stadium, which had been due to stage the 2020 decider. Seville, the prospective 2021 host, will now host the 2022 event.

Opened in 2011, Gdańsk Stadium hosted four games at UEFA EURO 2012 – three group stage fixtures and Germany's 4-2 quarter-final win against Greece – and is home to Ekstraklasa side Lechia Gdańsk. Poland have played a number of international friendlies at the stadium, but the ground has yet to hold a match in UEFA club competition.

Located in the city's Letnica neighbourhood, the stadium's curved 45,000 square-metre exterior consists of 18,000 plates designed to resemble amber, which has long been extracted along the Baltic coast.

When are the draws?

09/08/2020: Preliminary round draw
10/08/2020: First qualifying round draw
31/08/2020: Second qualifying round draw
01/09/2020: Third qualifying round draw
18/09/2020: Play-off draw
02/10/2020: Group stage draw
14/12/2020: Round of 32 draw
26/02/2021: Round of 16 draw
19/03/2021: Quarter-final and semi-final draws

All draws take place at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.