The European Club Association (ECA) welcomes the decision taken by the UEFA Executive Committee this week in London with regard to the UEFA Club Competitions Cycle 2015-18.
In order to further strengthen and increase the appeal of the UEFA Europa League in the future, the UEFA Executive Committee decided to introduce the following changes, which will come into effect with the start of the 2015/16 season:
- The UEFA Europa League winners will be granted access to the UEFA Champions League of the subsequent season.
- All associations will have a maximum three teams entering the UEFA Europa League. In addition, the number of teams directly qualified for the group stage will be increased to 16 teams from the top 12 associations (compared to the current six teams from the top six associations).
- Full centralisation of commercial rights as from the group stage onwards (compared to the current full centralisation from the knock-out stage onwards).
The decision follows months of discussions between ECA and UEFA. A dedicated working group comprising representatives of both organisations was set up in order to evaluate different proposals and formulate recommendations, which were eventually brought up to the UEFA Executive Committee for decision-making.
Commenting on the decision, ECA Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said:
"I am convinced that these new changes will help to further boost the UEFA Europa League. ECA's input in the decision-making process was important and always welcomed by UEFA. It is another example of the strong collaboration between the two organisations. The Europa League is a very good competition and will continue to develop and grow in the future."