UEFA has officially unveiled the trophy and branding for the Europa Conference League, which begins next season.
And after their dramatic comeback victory against Leicester on the final day of the Premier League season, it’s Tottenham who will be representing England in the inaugural campaign.
It looked to all as if Arsenal were going to pip their great North London rivals to seventh place, cruising at home to Brighton while Tottenham were 2-1 down at Leicester, but a brilliant Gareth Bale double ensured they finished above the Gunners for the fifth straight season.
And importantly, it means they will be the first English team to play in UEFA’s new competition, which will sit below the existing Europa League and Champions League formats.
So, in addition to the Champions League and Europa League, we now have a third European club competition – the Europa Conference League.
Essentially, the idea is that with another competition, more clubs will have the opportunity to play European football.
To use UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin’s words, “the new UEFA club competition makes UEFA’s club competitions more inclusive than ever before.
“There will be more matches for more clubs, with more associations represented in the group stages.”
Well, in England anyway, that’s not wholly true. There is still a maximum of seven teams participating in European football, including the new format.
The real benefit will be felt by those in leagues where they struggle to qualify for the existing two competitions.
Just like the Champions League and Europa League, there will be multiple qualifying rounds to play before the tournament gets underway.
In fact, there will be three – before a final two-legged play-off round.
Tottenham will go straight into the play-off round, which will be played on August 19 and 26, just five days after the 2021-22 Premier League season begins on August 14.