Europa League vs Champions League: What Is The Difference?

Europa League vs Champions League: The Europa League and the Champions League are two prestigious European club football competitions that captivate fans worldwide. While both tournaments showcase top teams and players, there are key differences that set them apart. In this article, we will explore the contrasting aspects of the Europa League and the Champions League, from their format and prize money to the caliber of participating teams.

Champions vs Europa League: Comparison chart


Europa LeagueChampions League
Number of teams32 (+ 8 from CL)32
Origin of teamsEuropeEurope
QualificationHighest positions that do not qualify for CL Cup winners Europa Conference League winnersBest teams in each event(based on UEFA coefficient) CL and EL winners
Duration10 months11 months
FormatGroup stage + knockout roundsGroup stage + knockout rounds
2-legged tiesPresentPresent
Number of matchesMaximum of 15Maximum of 13
Squad size25 (17 homegrown)25 (17 homegrown)
Loan player rulesCan play against parent clubCan play against parent club
Prize MoneyHigherLower
Qualification for next seasonYesYes
Qualification for Super CupUEFA Super CupUEFA Super Cup


Champions League vs Europa League history

Europa League (UEL) history

The UEL, formerly known as the UEFA Cup, is UEFA’s second-tier European club competition. The competition underwent a name change in 2009–10, and it now features qualifying and a play-off before a group stage that starts in September.

There are 12 groups of four teams, and each team plays both home and away against every other team in its group. In the UEFA group stage, the top two teams from each group, along with the eight third-place teams who leave the competition, advance to the round of 32.

Two competitions have emerged since the competition’s rebranding, with Chelsea taking home the trophy twice (in 2012/13 and 2018/19) and Manchester United defeating Ajax 2-0 in the 2016/17 contest.


Champions League history

In UEFA’s premier club competition, the best clubs from all across Europe compete to be crowned.

With 16 teams participating, the competition—then known as the European Cup—began in 1955–196. In 1992/1993, it underwent a name change to become the Champions League or European Cup, and it has since grown, featuring 79 clubs in 2019/20.

During the summer, 32 teams compete in three rounds of qualifying before the group round begins in September.

Each club plays every other team in that group both at home and away during the group stage, which consists of eight groups of four teams. While the third-place team is relegated to the UEFA Cup, the top two teams in each group go to the round of 16 and the start of the knockout phase.

The final is held at a stadium that is chosen almost two years in advance, while the round of 16, quarterfinals, and semifinals are contested over two legs, at home and away.


Players and teams

There are 32 teams in both of the events. There are 8 groups with 4 teams each throughout the group stages of these 2 competitions. Another significant difference between the Europa League and the Champions League is the quality of participating teams:

Europa League: The Europa League features a mix of teams from various European leagues, including those from less financially powerful footballing nations. While the competition boasts some notable clubs, it generally consists of teams that couldn’t secure qualification for the Champions League. This diversity in the participating teams creates an exciting and unpredictable environment.

Champions League: The Champions League is reserved for the top clubs from the strongest domestic leagues, such as the Premier League, La Liga, and Bundesliga. This exclusivity ensures that the competition showcases the crème de la crème of European football. The level of play and the intensity of matches are generally higher in the Champions League, with top-tier talents competing against each other.

Overall, the Champions League attracts the biggest and most successful clubs, resulting in fierce and high-quality football matches that captivate fans across the globe.

Europa League vs Champions League: Rewards for winning

Europa League vs Champions League - What is the differences

Except for the Champions League vs Europa League prize money, the prizes for the European Cup winner vs UEFA Cup winners are quite identical.

When comparing the prize money awarded to winners of the two competitions in 2020–21 (£7.5 million vs. £16 million), the UEFA event winners received significantly more money. The Champions League offers substantially higher prize money, allowing successful clubs to secure more significant financial gains. This financial advantage can contribute to the growth and competitiveness of the participating teams.

The winners will both receive automatic qualification to the European Cup for the upcoming season, and they will also face off in the UEFA Super Cup.

Europa League vs Champions League

Champions League vs Europa League: Conclusion

In conclusion, the Europa League and the Champions League offer distinct experiences for clubs, players, and fans. While the Europa League provides an opportunity for teams to compete at the continental level and enjoy a taste of European football, the Champions League represents the pinnacle of club football, featuring the best teams, the highest level of play, and substantial rewards. Both competitions have their unique charm and contribute to the vibrant tapestry of European football.

Finally, thank you for reading this article about the Europa League vs Champions League in our series of sports comparisons. You can see more in the same article “World Cup vs Olympics“. To explore other comparisons, please visit our website Sporting difference.

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