UEFA launches third European club competition from 2021

UEFA launches third European club competition from 2021

UEFA has announced details of a new European club competition to be launched in 2021.

An additional knockout round will be played before the round of 16 between teams ranked second in their groups and the third-ranked teams in the groups of the Europa League, which will run concurrently.

The new competition will be played on Thursday nights alongside the Europa League. The teams will then follow the traditional route towards the final of the competition via the round of 16, quarter-finals and semi-finals.

Speaking at a joint UEFA and ECA press conference in Brussels last month, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said the organisation's refereeing chief Roberto Rosetti has been leading efforts to make sure UEFA's pool of referees are ready for VAR and all "technical aspects" have been addressed.

Manchester City's final group match against Hoffenheim next week is to be used by Uefa as its final non-live trial of VAR, with the system introduced from the first knockout round in February. This competition was borne out of ongoing dialogue with clubs through the European Club Association.

An increased minimum financial guarantee for all clubs in the UEFA Europa League and the new competition has also been included.

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In an already hectic domestic schedule, "UEL2" games will take place on Thursdays with some 3.30pm kick-offs.

The introduction of the new tournament does not affect the Champions League's format at all.

The Champions League will not be the only competition to have the VAR as the Nations League Finals 2019 will also get the benefit of the technology.

Every country's champions will still enter the Champions League, but only teams from the 15 top-ranked countries will go into the Europa League group stages or qualifiers.

This was in spite of the technology being employed by major European leagues in Europe and the FIFA World Cup finals in Russian Federation this year.

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