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The UEFA Europa League, previously called the UEFA Cup has been run annually since 1971 for eligible European football clubs. It is the second most important European football competition, after the UEFA Champions League.
Places are awarded to the runners-up in top-flight leagues of Europe and the winners of the main cup competitions. France and England also have secondary cup competitions which grant the winners a place in the Europa League.
The competition starts in July with 3 qualifying rounds and a play-off, then a group stage and a knockout stage.
The higher a countries football association is ranked, the later its clubs start in the competition. Teams that are knocked out of the Champions League will also join the Europa League from the play-off round onwards.
The group stage starts with 12 groups of 4 teams that play each other twice. The top 2 teams in each group then progress to the knockout rounds. There are 4 two-legged knockout rounds and a one-off final. The final is traditionally played on the Wednesday in May immediately before the Champions League final.
27 different clubs have won the Europa League, with 12 winning more than once. The most successful team in the tournaments history is Sevilla, having won the title 5 times up to the 2016 season, including the 3 most recent seasons. Sevilla are also one of only 2 teams to have retained their title in successive seasons, the other being Real Madrid.
Spain is the most successful nation in the tournament, with Spanish teams having claimed the title 10 times. They are followed closely by Italy with 9 wins, and then England with 7. France are the country with the most final appearances without ever having won the cup, they have appeared in the final 4 times.
Like other European tournaments, bets placed on the Europa League can be on the nationality of winners, as well as on individual clubs to win outright. The entry of knockouts from the Champions League competition at the later stages means that they are often favourites as outright winners of the competition.
After the group stages bets can also be placed on which stage clubs will be eliminated from the competition.
It is also possible to place a bet on both finalists coming from the same national association. Something that has happened in 9 finals since 1972.
|9 March||Round of 16 - First Leg.|
|16 March||Round of 16 - Second Leg.|
|13 April||Quarter-finals - First Leg.|
|20 April||Quarter-finals - Second Leg.|
|4 May||Semi-finals - First Leg.|
|11 May||Semi-finals - Second Leg.|