UEFA comes up with major announcements regarding tournaments
The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has come up with some major announcements ahead of the upcoming seasons. The announcement includes the venues of the Champions League final, along with an introduction of a new tournament, while there would also be changes to the grouping structure of the Nations League. Here are further details on all of these.
Saint Petersburg, Munich and London to host UCL finals
As for the venues regarding the finals of the UCL until 2023, Saint Petersburg, Munich and London have been chosen as the hosts. While Saint Petersburg's Gazprom Arena would host it in 2021, Munich's Allianz Arena hosts it the following year, followed by London's Wembley Stadium in 2023. The final for the ongoing season is set to be hosted in Istanbul's Atatürk Olympic Stadium.
UCL matches to have early kick-off time
Furthermore, UEFA has also said that some UCL matches would have an early kick-off time, replacing the existing 18:55 CET (22:30 IST). Also, the 2021 Europa League final would be held in Sevilla's Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.
Nations League to witness change in team grouping structure
Meanwhile, UEFA has also announced changes to the grouping structure for the teams participating in the Nations League. Starting 2020-21, the tournament would see 16 teams featuring in Leagues A, B, and C, while League D would comprise of seven teams. These leagues would be decided by the overall ranking of teams following the 2018-19 competition, with the draw taking place in March 2020.
Europa Conference League to start from 2021
Meanwhile, the most major announcement of all came when UEFA decided to start a third club football league, by the name of Europa Conference League. It would be played in a similar format to UCL and Europa League, while it would be played just next to the latter. Both Europa League and Conference League would be played on Thursdays, with the existing kick-off time.
What is Europa Conference League?
While clubs from every European nation are eligible to play in the ECL, preference would be given to the clubs from lower-ranked associations. The tournament would have 32 teams, as the Europe League group stage would be reduced to a 32-team competition from the existing 64 teams. The grouping structure remains the same, while the winner qualifies for the Europa League the following season.
ECL to increase European competition
Although the ECL sounds like a below-par third-tier tournament, it comes as a major boost for the low-graded clubs, who were craving for European competition. The tournament would help these clubs improve and grow better, while these would also ease the pressure on the Europa League and help the tournament getting less congested. Thus, the author firmly backs UEFA's decision to introduce the ECL.