What’s the difference between the EPL, Champions and Europa soccer leagues?

If you’re new to the world of soccer then you may be struggling to understand the leagues and the differences between them. If this sounds like you then read on!

In short, the Premier League (the EPL) is a soccer league in England that sees some of the world’s top teams competing for the League Trophy, including Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur. Currently, 20 English and Welsh clubs are included in the league and the season runs from August to May, with teams playing 38 matches each, which usually take place on Saturdays and Sundays.

Thanks to the quality of the players in the Premier League, who come from all over the world, the epic stadiums and the loyal fan base, the Premier League has grown from strength to strength and is considered by many to be the leading European football league.

The UEFA Champions League (UCL), which dates back to 1992, is an annual continental soccer competition that sees top clubs from across Europe compete in what is considered one of the most prestigious tournaments in football. The top-performing teams from each UEFA national association qualify in advance and then the other top-division clubs from each UEFA national association play in the initial games starting in mid-July. The 10 victorious teams from these knock-out rounds then go on to enter what is called “the group stage”, where they are joined by the teams that qualified in advance and they are then separated into eight groups. The winners and runners-up from the group stages go forward and this continues until the final match, which takes place in May. Real Madrid has been the most successful club in the competition's history, having won the tournament 14 times, but English, German and Italian clubs also perform well.

The UEFA Europa League (UEL) is a level down from the Champions League and was previously known as the UEFA Cup. It also takes place annually and, again, clubs qualify to take part based on their performance in their national leagues, meaning that the Europa League includes clubs that did not quite perform well enough to enter the Champions League but that still performed outstandingly in their national league. It follows a similar format to the UEFA Champions League, with knock-out rounds and group stages preceding the final matches, and the winner automatically qualifies for the next Champions League, making Europa League matches fiercely competitive and enjoyable. 

The UEFA Conference League (UECL) is a third European knockout competition that started in the 2021/22 season. It is a level down from the UEFA Europa League and two levels down from the UEFA Champions League and involves clubs that did not qualify for the Champions League or the Europa League but still performed very well in their national leagues. The format is again similar to the Champions League and the winner of this competition qualifies for the next Europa League 

So, those are the basic differences between the English Premier League, the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europe League and the UEFA Conference League. If you’re a soccer fan then you may be interested in our Soccer Experience, which includes match tickets to a live soccer game in Europe and, in some cases, we can also include a stadium tour. Contact us for more information!

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