Does the Europa League winner qualify for the Champions League?
The Europa League was rebranded from the former UEFA Cup back in 2009 with an added incentive for the team who lift the trophy.
Since its inception in 1971 by European Football’s governing body, the UEFA Cup as it was known then was always regarded as the poor relation to the prestigious European Cup or now defunct Cup Winners Cup. The competition, however was given an overhaul and rebranded in 2009, and there is now an added incentive for teams who progress as the final games loom.
How much do the Europa League winners receive in prize money?
The competition is now hosted on a group stage basis where eight teams of four participate with the top side progressing automatically to a Round of 16 and the group runners-up facing the eight third-placed teams from the Champions League group stage. As the competition advances, the lure of $8 million in prize money, the prestige of winning a major European trophy and the all important place in the following year’s Champions League group stage offer huge incentives for clubs in the latter stages.
UCL top seed incentive
Following their 2022 win in Seville against Rangers on a penalty shoot-out, Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt automatically became a top seed in the draw for the 2022/23 Champions League group stage. That will also be the case in the 2023/24 competition for Sevilla or Roma, who face off in the 2023 Europa League final in Budapest on Wednesday 31 May.
Three of the four semi-finalists in this year’s edition were teams who had finished third in their Champions League groups (Sevilla, Juventus and Bayer Leverkusen), while José Mourinho’s Roma secured their place in the Europa League by winning the 2021/22 UEFA Europa Conference League.
This situation has led to certain nations having five participants in the Champions League with Spain being a case in point after Villarreal won the 2021 Europa League and joined Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atlético Madrid and Sevilla in the following season’s UCL.