UEFA’S third tier competition made a blockbuster of a debut this season – and it has given Jose Mourinho the chance to create more footballing history.
The Portuguese wizard guided his side to TOMORROW’S Europa League Conference final, where they will take on Feyernood in the Air Albania Stadium.
And should Roma secure European glory, the Italian outfit will be the first ever club to win this competition.
But what exactly is the Europa Conference League and how does qualifying work?
What is the Europa Conference League?
The Europa Conference League is Uefa’s third tier European competition, formed in 2021.
The idea of it is to give more clubs from more countries the chance to play European football.
Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin said: “The new Uefa club competition makes Uefa’s club competitions more inclusive than ever before.
“There will be more matches for more clubs, with more associations represented in the group stages.”
Like the Champions League and Europa League, the competition will consist of a group and knockout stage.
Which English teams qualify for the Europa Conference League?
England has been granted one Europa Conference League place.
The slot is allocated to the side which wins the Carabao Cup, assuming they have not already qualified for Europe through the league.
However, in 2022/23 it will be allocated to the seventh placed Premier League team as Champions League sides Liverpool and Chelsea have faced off in both the League and FA Cup final.
Which other teams qualify for the Europa Conference League?
European football now involves a slimmed down Europa League with more teams entering the Conference League.
Just 57 teams will compete in the Europa League compared to 184 in the Europa Conference League.
While the champions of every country will get the chance to qualify for the Champions League, all other teams from countries ranked below 15th in the Uefa Coefficients will enter the Europa Conference League rather than the Europa League.
Teams eliminated from the Champions League preliminary round and first qualifying rounds will also go to the Conference League, as well as those eliminated from the Europa League third qualifying round, play-off round and third place finishers in the group stage.
After European football’s winter break, the Conference League also welcomes third placed teams from the Europa League group stage, which is how Leicester reached the 2022 semi-final.
Which English side will be in the Europa Conference League next season?
West Ham United’s seventh place finish in the Premier League sees them enter Europe’s third tier club compeition.
The Hammers would have snatched a Europa League spot if they had bettered Manchester United’s result on the final day.
But David Moyes’ side disappointingly lost to Brighton which resulted in West Ham finishing below the Red Devils.
How has the Europa League changed?
The Europa League group stage has been reduced to 32 teams from the current 48.
Group winners now advance to the last 16 of the tournament while runners-up will have to play a preliminary knockout stage against the third placed Champions League teams.
Does the winner of the Europa Conference League qualify for any other tournaments?
The Europa Conference League winner will qualify for the following season’s Europa League.