The UEFA Europa Conference League (abbreviated as UECL or sometimes UEFA ECL), which will be renamed the UEFA Conference League (sometimes referred to as simply the Conference League) for the 2024–25 season, is an annual football competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) for eligible European football clubs. It is the third tier of continental club football in Europe, behind the second-tier Europa League, and the first-tier Champions League.

First contested in the 2021–22 season, the competition serves as the bottom level of the Europa League, which was reduced from 48 to 32 teams in the group stage. The competition is primarily contested by teams from lower-ranked UEFA member associations. No teams qualify directly to the group stage, with 10 teams eliminated in the Europa League play-offs and the rest coming from the Europa Conference League qualifiers. The winners of the competition are awarded a position in the Europa League the following season, unless they qualify for the Champions League. Roma were the inaugural winners of the competition, having beaten Feyenoord 1–0 in the 2022 final.


UEFA Europa Conference League Winners
Season Winner
2021–22 Roma
2022–23 West Ham United
2023–24 Olympiacos
The UEFA Europa Conference League trophy on display in Rome

UEFA had reportedly considered adding a third-tier competition since at least 2015, believing that a bottom-level tournament could act as a means of giving clubs from lower-ranked UEFA member countries a chance of progressing beyond their customary elimination from the Champions League and Europa League. In mid-2018, talk of an announcement intensified, with news sources claiming an agreement had already been reached for the competition to be launched and that the 48-team Europa League group stage would be split in two, with the lower half forming the nucleus of what would be the new event.

On 2 December 2018, UEFA announced that the competition – provisionally known as "Europa League 2" or just "UEL2" – was to be launched as part of the 2021–24 three-year competition cycle, with UEFA adding that the new tournament would bring "more matches for more clubs and more associations".

The official name of the competition, "UEFA Europa Conference League", was announced on 24 September 2019.

On 24 May 2021, UEFA revealed the competition's trophy and brand identity. The Europa Conference League Trophy stands 57.5 cm (22.6 in) tall and weighs 11 kg (24 lb).

The first goal in the Europa Conference League qualifiers was scored on 6 July 2021 by Mosta player Evo Chris in a 2021–22 qualifying round match against Spartak Trnava. The first goal in the Europa Conference League group stage was scored on 14 September 2021 by Maccabi Tel Aviv player Stipe Perica in a 2021–22 group stage match against Alashkert. On 30 September 2021, the competition's first hat-trick was scored by Harry Kane for Tottenham Hotspur in a group stage match against NS Mura. Kane came on as a 59th minute substitute at 2–1 before scoring three goals within 20 minutes of each other to finish off the game (5–1).

On 5 May 2022, Feyenoord and Roma became the first teams ever to reach the final of UECL, ending with Roma being crowned the inaugural champions.

On 3 November 2022, West Ham United became the first side to win all six of their Conference League group stage matches, picking up wins against FCSB, Silkeborg and Anderlecht. They went on to win the competition by defeating Fiorentina 2–1 in the 2023 final, in the process becoming the first side to finish the competition undefeated, with 12 wins and one draw.

On 28 June 2023, UEFA announced that the competition will be renamed as the UEFA Conference League from the 2024–25 season onwards. According to UEFA, removing 'Europa' from the name of the competition will enable further development as a stand-alone competition in their research amongst fans and commercial partners.

A match between CSKA Sofia and Roma in the inaugural 2021–22 season
The UEFA Conference League is a prestigious soccer tournament organized by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). It is the third-tier competition in European club football, introduced in 2021 to provide more opportunities for teams from smaller football nations to compete at the continental level.

The tournament features teams from across Europe, including those who did not qualify for the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League. It aims to promote inclusivity and diversity by giving clubs from lower-ranked leagues a chance to showcase their talent on a bigger stage.

The format of the UEFA Conference League consists of three qualifying rounds, followed by a playoff round, group stage, knockout stage, and ultimately, the final. The qualifying rounds involve teams from lower-ranked leagues battling it out for a spot in the playoff round. The playoff round determines the final teams that will join the group stage.

The group stage consists of 32 teams divided into eight groups of four. Each team plays six matches, facing the other teams in their group home and away. The top two teams from each group advance to the knockout stage, which includes the round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals, and the final.

The winner of the UEFA Conference League earns a spot in the following season's UEFA Europa League, providing an opportunity for further European success. Additionally, the tournament offers significant financial rewards, increasing the appeal for participating clubs.

The UEFA Conference League provides a platform for lesser-known clubs to gain exposure, attract new fans, and enhance their reputation on the European stage. It also offers fans the chance to witness exciting matchups between teams from different countries, showcasing the diversity and passion of European football.

Overall, the UEFA Conference League adds another layer of excitement and competitiveness to European club football, ensuring that teams from all levels have the opportunity to compete and make their mark on the continental stage.