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Europa League: Date, history, previous winners & how to watch

The Europa League is the secondary competition in European club football, with plenty of big teams battling it out for continental glory each season.

It takes place on Thursday nights, with the third qualifying round starting on 10th August and the final of the competition taking place on 22nd May 2024. 

Europa League history

The competition started in 1971 under the name of the UEFA Cup, replacing the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, and it was a third-tier competition until 1999 when the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup was discontinued.

In 1999, the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup was merged with the UEFA Cup.

The 2009/10 edition saw it rebranded as the Europa League, merging with the UEFA Intertoto Cup, and there was a change in format.

Europa League format

The competition begins with three rounds of qualifying and then a play-off round before it enters the group stage.

There are eight groups of four with the top two sides advancing through to the knockout phase.

Those remaining clubs battle it out in two-legged ties in the last-16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.

Europa League how to watch

The Europa League will be available to watch on TNT Sports, formerly known as BT Sport.

Europa League most successful team

Sevilla have won the most titles in the history of either the UEFA Cup or Europa League.

The Spanish outfit won their seventh trophy in 2023 with their first victorious campaign arriving back in 2006.

They won the tournament on three successive occasions between 2014 and 2016.

Inter Milan, Liverpool, Juventus and Atletico Madrid have each won the competition on three occasions.

Tottenham were the inaugural winners of the UEFA Cup, beating Wolves 3-2 on aggregate over a two-legged final in 1972.

Spain, thanks largely to the exploits of Sevilla, has been the most successful nation in the competition, winning 14 editions and finishing runner-up five times.

England and Italy are tied-second for titles with each nation winning the competition nine times and having a runner-up on eight occasions.

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