UEFA Europa League

Editions

Year Host nation(s) Winner Runner-up
2016 Switzerland Sevilla Liverpool
2017 (2016-17) Sweden Manchester United Ajax
2018

History

The origins of the UEFA Europa League date back to the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, whose chief instigator was Ernst Thommen, a Swiss vice-president of FIFA.

As the name suggests, the competition was created to promote international trade fairs.
The first competition was held in the 1955-56 with eight of the 12 participating teams representing a city, rather than a club.

Although the Fairs Cup is recognised as the forerunner to the UEFA Cup, it was not organised by UEFA so they don't consider clubs' records in the Fairs Cup to be part of their European record.

FIFA, however, does regard the competition as a major honour.

The competition grew to 64 teams by the time the last final was played in 1970-71.
It had become so influential that it was taken over by UEFA's auspices and re-branded the following season as the UEFA Cup.

Clubs qualified for the competition based on their performances in their national leagues and cup competitions.

When the European Cup Winners' Cup was abolished in 1999, it merged into the UEFA Cup and a group phase was added before the knock-out stage in 2004-05.

A further merge with the UEFA Intertoto Cup saw the introduction of the re-vamped UEFA Europa League in the 2009-10 season.

It produced an enlarged competition format, with an expanded group stage and changed qualifying criteria.

The winner of the UEFA Europa League qualifies for the UEFA Super Cup.

Of more significance, the winner of the Europa League now also qualifies for the following season's Champions League.

As the competition grew to covers some 54 nations and nearly 200 clubs, it was reported in 2015 that a meeting of UEFA members explored the possibilities of a new competition for those teams that fail to advance from the qualifying rounds for the Champions League or Europa League.