The UEFA Europa League (abbreviated UEEL) is an annual football club competition organized by the European Football Association (UEFA) for eligible European football clubs. This is the second tier of European club football, before the UEFA Cup winners’ cup, after being ranked third below the UEFA Champions League and above the UEFA Europa Conference League from 1971 to 1999. Clubs qualify for competitions based on their performance in their national leagues and cup competitions.
Introduced as the UEFA Cup in 1971, it replaced the Inter-City Fair Cup. In 1999, the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup was abolished and merged into the UEFA Cup. A group stage was added before the knockout stage from the 2004-05 season. Following the change in format, the competition has been known as the Europa League since the 2009-10 season. The 2009 rebranding includes integration with the UEFA Inter Tutto Cup, which has developed an expanded competition format, including an expanded group stage and a change in qualifying criteria. The winner of the UEFA Europa League qualifies for the UEFA Super Cup and, following the 2014-15 season, enters the group stage of next season’s UEFA Champions League.
Spanish clubs have won the most (thirteen wins), followed by England and Italy (nine wins). The title has been won by 29 clubs, thirteen of which have won it more than once. The most successful club in the competition is Sevilla with six titles. Valerie is the reigning champions, having beaten Manchester United 11-10 on penalties in 2021 final.