UEFA Europa League, A Second Rate Competition

UEFA Europa League, formerly the UEFA Cup
UEFA Europa League, formerly the UEFA Cup


With four games of the Premier League campaign left, Fulham are leading the ‘race’ for seventh place and for the Cottagers it will be a rare European adventure. This would of course be via the all singing, all dancing UEFA Europa League.

This ‘new’ competition was created by reformatting and re-branding the ailing UEFA Cup. Normally to fans of most teams, seeing their beloved club in participate would be something to look forward to. But it appears that until the latter stages of this competition hardly anyone actually seems interested. My memories of the UEFA Cup in recent years seem to have followed a similar pattern. watch the final but pay little/no attention to the barely watchable early rounds that in recent years have thrown up classic encounters between European giants like Bolton Wanderers and Aris Thessaloniki.

No direspect to the teams mentioned above but I do wonder how many neutrals actually tune in to ITV4 to watch these games? Granted in the latter stages of the competition when the bigger clubs like Manchester City and Hamburger SV rip into each other we are once again interested. 

The major problem with the UEFA Cup/Europa League, is that it is without doubt a second class competition. This is likely to be down to the hype that surrounds it’s bigger sibling the Champions League. I am fully aware that UEFA are in business to make money but even the Champions league appears to be losing a bit of prestige. “How so?” I hear you ask. Simple, the name of the competition is the Champions League. How many champions actually participate? The last time I checked, teams that finish second, third and fourth not champions.  

It seems a bit unfair on teams from the ‘lesser leagues’ that win their domestic title and then have to go through the qualifying rounds and invariaby don’t get the chance to play at Old Trafford and the Nou Camp etc while a team from England that finishes 12 points from top gets the likes of Real Madrid and Inter Milan in their group. This being said, it would be hypocritical of me to back that statement 100 percent. After all, I’d sooner watch Liverpool vs Real Madrid than watch Llanelli take on the likes of  NSI Runavik.

One of UEFA’s strategy to make the UEFA cup more exciting was to drop third placed Champions League teams  into the competition. What a lovely kick in the face that is for the teams who have been in the competition from outset. I can understand that the likes AC Milan at Fratton Park last year was genuinely exciting but most of the time you would expect teams from Greece and Norway to drop into the Europa League. Again this approach is what makes it such a second class competition in the first place. I don’t believe for one minute that Europa League will ever hold the prestige that it did in it’s previous guise as the UEFA Cup in years gone by. Quite simply the standard of many of the teams isn’t good enough as the better teams have already participated in the Champions league – even if they finished fourth domestically. And in any case, managers will rather turn their focus to the Premier League and the FA Cup.

8 thoughts on “UEFA Europa League, A Second Rate Competition”

  1. wow, tell me something i don’t know

    it knows it is a 2nd rate competition, who said it was trying to be something it is not?

  2. What a pointless article! Its like me stating the Championship is inferior to the Premier League, even though the Football League will say its a strong league. Plenty of neutrals watched UEFA cup games this season. Personally I will watch ANY match featuring an English team in a European competition and I suspect I’m not the only one

  3. The competition is shite. These consolation tournaments have to go. This isn’t college basketball. This is professional football.

    Teams should be focusing on qualifying for the next year’s Champions League. They can’t be bothered with the UEFA Cup when they have bigger fish to fry. Let the UEFA Cup die already. It’s rewarding failure. Leave the consolation prizes for game shows.

    And please, discontinue the “supercup”. That is the most ridiculous cup there is. The UEFA Cup champion already had a shot to beat the European Champion. They failed. F**k the supercup. F**k the UEFA Cup.

  4. I’d like to see the return of the Cup Winners Cup in a straight knockout format what about anyone else?

  5. I’d like to see a straight knockout competition in both competitions. Groups Stage of both competitions is quite boring.

  6. I agree, the UEFA Cup/Europa League is usually only of good quality in the later rounds of play.
    I like the European Champions League with a group format before the knockout rounds, but the UEFA Cup/Europa League was better as a knockout tournament, without having the group format.

    For those who want the Europa League like the orginal Cup Winners Cup, it is that, the cup winners of the various European countries do play in the Europa League, with some other good teams added.

    It wouldn’t bother me however if the cup winners were put into the European Champions League along with the league winners and the other best teams, and the Europa League was eliminated. That won’t happen though. there is enough interest in the Europa League to make it economically viable, and it also gives teams outside of the strong west European countries, (such as the east European teams who have done well in the UEFA Cup/ Europa League)) a much better chance at winning a European tournament.

  7. yes i see your point about uefa cup that’s true ( except sometimes big teams match up at earlier stages ) . but i don’t understand your complains about the CL. you say that only the champions should participate? lets think. it will be like barcelona man.utd inter az porto bordeaux be?ikta? wolfsbufg.. it sounds nice so far but when you try to name a team for each spot in the group stage , i wonder how many unknown teams would be ? also don’t forget that barca finished the league as 3rd before this year

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