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UEFA Europa League historical format and current format

Originally, the competition was founded in 1955 as the Fair Cup. In 1971 UEFA officially took over the competition. Since then, the teams that have placed in the league after the champion, eventually the national cup winner or the league cup winner can apply.

Since 1980/81, there has been a provision on the number of representatives based on the success of each country in the cup competitions in the last five years (three countries each have four representatives in the first round of the UEFA Cup, five countries three, 13 two, 11 one representative and the others have to fight for the preliminary rounds). Since 1999/00, the winners of the National Cups have been participating as well, as their PVP competition has been canceled. The expansion of Uefa Champions league football fixtures also affected this competition, as the losers in the 3rd round of the Champions League advance to at least the first round of the UEFA Cup, and the third teams in the groups of the regular season of the Champions League go to the third round.

Since the 2009/10 season, the number of starting teams has been expanded to 48. The teams are divided into 12 groups of 4 participants each competing with each other on the indoor and outdoor pitches. The two most successful teams from each group advance to the next stage of the tournament. The rule of adding a team from the 3rd place in the Champions League groups has been maintained.

Until the semifinals are played in a knock-out (indoors - outdoors), with equal scores and scoring goals, the goals scored on the opponent's pitch are doubled; if it does not decide, it is followed by 2 × 15 minutes or penalty kicks. The finals were previously two rounds, since the 1997/98 season, like the Champions League finals, they have been playing one match at a pre-determined stadium.

The competition was traditionally a pure knockout tournament. All encounters were bipedal, including the final. Starting with the 1997/98 season, the final was a one-time game, but all other ties remained bipedal.

Before the 2004/05 season, the tournament consisted of a qualifying round, followed by a series of knockout rounds. The 16 non-qualifiers from the last qualifying round of the Champions League started in the first round. Later in the tournament, the survivors were supported by third-placed players from the (first) group stage of the Champions League.

Starting in the 2004/05 season, the competition started with two knockout stages in July and August. Participants in rank 18 and lower ranked participants in the first qualifying round, while participants in rank 9-18 participated in the second qualifying round. In addition, three places were reserved in the first qualifying round for the winners of the UEFA Fair Play ranking (until 2015-16) and eleven places in the second qualifying round for the UEFA Intertoto Cup winners.

The winners of the qualifying rounds then joined the teams of the associations and finished in the first round places 1 to 13. In addition, also closed at this time non-qualifiers of the third qualifying round of the Champions League along with the current defending champions (if they are did not qualify for the Champions League over their national league) for a total of 80 teams in the competition on the first round.

After the first knockout round, the 40 survivors entered a group stage in which the clubs were divided into eight groups of five players each. Unlike in the Champions League group stage, the UEFA Cup group stage took place in a single round-robin format, with each club playing two home and two away games. The top three teams in each of the eight groups qualified for the round of 16, as did the eight third-placed teams in the group stage of the Champions League. From then on, before a one-legged final, which traditionally took place on a Wednesday in May, exactly one week before the Champions League final, a series of KO games were played.


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