LaLiga Santander’s Champions League places have been settled for quite a while now, but there is a race to secure European football just behind the top four.
Real Sociedad, Real Betis and Villarreal are all pushing to qualify for the Europa League. Should they miss out on Europe’s familiar second club competition, they’ll take part in the new Conference League.
The differences between the two competitions are more than just sporting. Clubs involved in the Europa League will earn around 30 percent more money than those involved in the Conference League.
Changes in format
From 2021/22, the Europa League format will change slightly. Thirty-two teams will compete in the group stage, with the winners of each group going into the knockout rounds. Those who finish second will face the Champions League groups’ third-placed teams, and teams who finish third in their Europa League groups will fall into the Conference League against teams who finish second in that competition’s groups.
Finishing seventh in LaLiga Santander will lead to a complicated qualification path. The European season will then begin with a playoff on August 19 and 26 with the hope of reaching the group stage of the new competition.
Finishing top of the group sends clubs into the Round of 16, and finishing second leads to a playoff with the fallen Europa League sides for a place in the Round of 16.
From 12 million euros to 7.5
The Europa League guarantees about 12 million euros of income, but the Conference League just around 7.5 million euros.
With the competition being new, it remains to be seen how lucrative an extended run in it can be for clubs.