Europa League vs Champions League: What Is The Difference?

Europa League vs Champions League: They are the two most prestigious continental competitions in Europe. But if we look at the teams that earn a spot in both tournaments, the latter teams are the ones that did better in the competition the year before.

There is often a lot of confusion about the two. Many people don’t know what the difference between the two tournaments is, or why some teams are in one and not the other. In this article, we will explain the key differences. We will also take a look at some of the highlights from each tournament. So, if you are wondering what all of the fuss is about, keep reading!

Here is a detailed comparison of these 2 competitions:

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.

Teams from UEFA member nations compete in both the UEL and the European Cup. This results in a diverse group of teams competing in both two sports events. Moldovan squad FC Sheriff Tiraspol is one example of this.

Since there are typically clubs that are not the representatives of their respective domestic areas, the UEFA’s second-tier European club competition will feature several teams that you may not be familiar with.

Since they might not be from the top football events, there is undoubtedly a broader diversity of teams in the UEL.

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 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

The teams in the UEFA’s second-tier European club competition are typically considered to be “less quality” than those in the European Cup. This is because the UEFA event has the top clubs from each sports event as well as the leaders of the two sports events from the previous season, whilst the UEL features the teams that finished second best but did not advance to the UEFA event.

If we were to examine which teams qualified for each competition, we would find that the UEFA competitions often have the clubs with the best records from the prior year.

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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