This page was the main page of the 2020/2021 season. All text has to be interpreted within that context. No changes are applied.

See below for a general description of the format of the Champions League, the Europa League, and the Europa Conference League.

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Champions League

The Champions League is the most prestigious club competition in European football. The champions of all countries in Europe enter the Champions League, but high ranked countries can send more clubs. There are 32 clubs in the group stage, which is preceded by five qualifying stages. The last qualifying round is called the play-off round. Some clubs of high ranked countries are directly qualified for the group stage, while others have to play qualifying rounds. The format is rebalanced if the title holder spots are not used. For details see Access list and 2021-24 qualifying scheme.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Preliminary Round June 4 champions from countries ranked 52 or lower
1st Qualifying Round July 1 winner from preliminary round
33 champions from countries ranked 18-51
2nd Qualifying Round July Champions path with 20 clubs
17 winners from 1st qualifying round
3 champions from countries ranked 15-17
Non-Champions or League path with 6 clubs
6 second-placed clubs from countries ranked 10-15
3rd Qualifying Round August Champions path with 12 clubs
10 winners from 2nd qualifying round
2 champions from countries ranked 13-14
Non-Champions or League path with 8 clubs
3 winners from 2nd qualifying round
3 second-placed clubs from countries ranked 7-9
2 third-placed clubs from country ranked 5-6
Play-off round August Champions path with 8 clubs
6 winners from 3rd qualifying round
2 champions from countries ranked 11-12
Non-Champions or League path with 4 clubs
4 winners from 3rd qualifying round
Group Stage
8 groups of 4 clubs
Sep-Dec 6 winners from 4th qualifying round
10 champions from countries ranked 1-10
6 second-placed clubs from countries ranked 1-6
4 third-placed clubs from countries ranked 1-4
4 fourth-placed clubs from countries ranked 1-4
1 Champions League title holder
1 Europa League title holder
Round of 16 Feb/Mar 8 winners from the group stage
8 runners-up from the group stage
Final stage Mar-May 8 winners of the round of 16 play the quarter finals, the semi finals, and the final

Losing clubs in the preliminary round and the 1st qualifying round of the Champions League enter the Europa Conference League. Losing clubs in other qualifying rounds enter the Europa League. Third-placed clubs from the group stage enter the knockout round play-offs of the Europa League. See Access list and 2021-24 qualifying scheme for all details, and wikipedia for more general info.

The CL and EL title-holders qualify directly for the group stage of the Champions League. If a title holder already qualified for European football the total number of clubs of that association does not change. The maximum number of clubs of one association in the group stage of the Champions League is five. If more clubs qualify the last-placed club for the Champions League of that association has to take part in the Europa League.

See the Regulations of the Champions League 2021/2022 (pdf or online), for a complete and formal description of all regulations.

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Europa League

The Europa League is a competition with a new format since 2021 for the cup winners of the 15 top-ranked countries, one additional club from the 5 top-ranked countries, and clubs that failed to qualify in the Champions League. The majority of the clubs that played in the old-style Europa League before 2021 now compete in the Europa Conference League. There are 32 clubs in the group stage, which is preceded by two qualifying stages. The last qualifying round is called the play-off round. The format is rebalanced if the title holder spots are not used. For details see Access list and 2021-24 qualifying scheme.

EUROPA LEAGUE
Qualifying Round August Main path with 6 clubs
3 cup winners from countries ranked 13-15
3 losers of Champions League 2nd qualifying round (league path)
Champions path with 10 clubs
10 losing champions of the Champions League 2nd qualifying round
Play-off round
20 clubs
August 6 cup winners from countries ranked 7-12
8 winners from the qualifying round
6 losing champions of the Champions League 3rd qualifying round
Group Stage
8 groups of 4 clubs
Sep-Dec 6 cup winners from countries ranked 1-6
4 fifth-placed clubs from countries ranked 1-4
1 fourth-placed club from country ranked 5
10 winners of the play-off round
6 losers of the Champions League 4th qualifying round
4 losers of Champions League 3rd qualifying round (league path)
1 Europa Conference League title holder
Knockout round play-offs February 8 runners-up from the group stage
8 third-placed clubs from the group stage of the Champions League
Round of 16 March 8 winners from the group stage
8 winners of the knockout round play-offs
Final stage April-May 8 winners of the round of 16 play the quarter finals, the semi finals, and the final

If the cup winner of a country qualifies for the Champions League, then an additional club based on league position will be qualified. Depending on the use of the title holder spots the access list for the Europa League might need to be adapted. If so then priority is given to cup winners. Losing clubs in the qualifying round of the Europa League enter the Europa Conference League. Third-placed clubs from the group stage enter the knockout round play-offs of the Europa Conference League. See Access list and 2021-24 qualifying scheme for all details, and wikipedia for more general info.

See the Regulations of the Europa League 2021/2022 (pdf or online) for a complete and formal description of all regulations.

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Europa Conference League

The Europa Conference League is a new competition since 2021 for the cup winners of countries ranked 16 and below and high-placed clubs in the domestic league in each country. The number of clubs is depending on the country ranking and the majority of the clubs are from the lower-ranked countries. The first qualifying stages resemble a lot of the Europa League before 2021. All clubs have to play qualifying matches (10 clubs enter the group stage as losers of the Europa League play-off round). The winners of the Conference League have direct access to next year's Europa League group stage. The group stage runners-up have to play a knockout round play-offs against the third-placed clubs from the Europa League group stage. For details see Access list and 2021-24 qualifying scheme.

EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE
1st Qualifying Round July 26 cup winners from countries ranked 30-55
25 second-placed clubs from countries ranked 30-55
21 third-placed clubs from countries ranked 29-50
2nd Qualifying Round July Main path with 90 clubs
36 winners from 1st qualifying round
14 cup winners from countries ranked 16-29
14 second-placed clubs from countries ranked 16-29
16 third-placed clubs from countries ranked 13-28
9 fourth-placed clubs from countries ranked 7-15
1 fifth-placed club from country ranked 6
Champions path with 20 clubs
3 losers of the Champions League preliminary round
17 losers of the Champions League 1st qualifying round
3th Qualifying Round August Main path with 52 clubs
45 winners from 2nd qualifying round
6 third-placed clubs from countries ranked 7-12
1 fourth-placed clubs from country ranked 6
Champions path with 10 clubs
10 winners from 2nd qualifying round
Play-off Round August Main path with 34 clubs
26 winners from 3rd qualifying round
1 fifth-placed club from country ranked 5
4 sixth-placed clubs from countries ranked 1-4
3 losers of Europa League 3rd qualifying round (main path)
Champions path with 10 clubs
5 winners from 3rd qualifying round
5 losers of Europa League 3rd qualifying round (champions path)
Group Stage
8 groups of 4 clubs
Sep-Dec 17 winners of the play-off round (main path)
5 winners of the play-off round (champions path)
10 losers of the Europa League play-off round
Knockout round play-offs February 8 runners-up from the group stage
8 third-placed clubs from the group stage of the Europa League
Round of 16 March 8 winners from the group stage
8 winners of the knockout round play-offs
Final stage April-May 8 winners of the round of 16 play the quarter finals, the semi finals, and the final

If the cup winner of a country qualifies for the Champions League, then an additional club based on league position will be qualified. For England the last league entrant position is given to the League Cup Winner.

Depending on the use of the title holder spots in the Champions League and Europa League the access list for the Europa Conference League might need to be adapted. If so then priority is given to cup winners in that round. See Access list and 2021-24 qualifying scheme for all details, and wikipedia for more general info.

See the Regulations of the Europa Conference League 2021/2022 (pdf or online) for a complete and formal description of all regulations.

Bert Kassies [ main : kassiesa.net ] , [ backup ] bert@kassiesa.net