Europa League is a progression of the UEFA Cup. In the last few years, it has become even more prestigious and lucrative for the winners, as a consequence of UEFA’s determination to make the tournament more attractive to the major clubs.
Even if the Europa League is smaller than the Champions League, it is not to be underestimated. Every year, leading clubs enter the tournament, and this season, Manchester United, Tottenham, Roma, Fiorentina, Villarreal, Celta Vigo, Lyon, Ajax and many more will be fighting it out for the top spot.
Something which helps to add a bit of star status to the tournament is the fact that the eight teams who place third in the Champions League are given the opportunity to continue their European football adventure in Europa League.
The tournament, which changed its name from UEFA Europa League Cup during the 2009/2010 season, is dominated by Spanish teams. In five out of seven seasons, the winners have been from Spain, with Atlético Madrid winning the first and third tournament and Sevilla grabbing the top spot in the last three seasons. Porto and Chelsea have also won the cup once each.
When Porto made it to the top in 2011, they won just under eight million Euro. Since then, UEFA has nearly doubled the prize money, which means that the winning club can take home 15,7 million Euro – not including their market pool share.
The winners also get a spot in the following Champions League season, which quickly adds up to another ten million Euros in the bank.
Big clubs, big prizes and prestige make Europa League a tournament not to be taken lightly.