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How to improve the Europa Conference League:

In the past weeks since the announcement of the Europa Conference League, the tournament has been met with ridicule, and understandably so. It feels distinctively un-important, leaning dangerously close to a joke on whichever big team happens to unluckily fall into its clutches. But, it is European Football, admittedly it’s not the heights players aim for but, it is something. So, with that in mind, how can it be saved from a laughing stock to a legitimate competition? Here is a few of our ideas on how it could be done.

Change the prize:

This one is the easiest to do and it’s madness it wasn’t done from the start. With the Europa Conference League, the prize for winning is a spot in next season’s Europa League. With all due respect to Tottenham (arguably the biggest team currently in the competition), if after a gruelling season and European tour, their prize is to end up in the Europa League, will they really bother?

The easy solution is to change the prize to a place in the latter knockout stages of Champions League qualification. The difference here is night-and-day, whilst it may add another set of games onto a team’s schedule, they surely would take that if it put them closer to Champions League football as opposed to a year in the Europa League.

This would work not only as an incentive for the bigger sides to take the Europa Conference League seriously. But, for the smaller sides that make up the majority of the competition, it makes the possibility of Champions League football plausible.

Tottenham of the Europa Conference League
Should players like Son and Kane really be playing in the Europa Conference League?(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Age/Salary Cap:

The reality is with the players at the ‘bigger’ clubs in the Europa Conference League expense, they really should walk the way to the latter stages. How can this be fixed? Ideally, UEFA could introduce a salary cap on each team’s squad, meaning they can’t just field their best eleven against any and all teams. But, how plausible this ruling is, is fairly mixed. So, instead, why not introduce an age cap on each squad?

Age can’t be disputed in football so, a situation in which squads are allowed so many players over the age of 25 based on where they rank in UEFA’s Club Coefficient (equivalent to FIFA’s ranking system for countries). For example, this would work with those who rank lower on the list having more access to over 25 players, allowing them far greater choice. Whilst, those on the higher end of the quality ladder, would find themselves having to put their trust in youth prospects. To give you an idea of how big this gap really is, Tottenham currently ranks 14th in UEFA’s Club Coefficient rankings. Almost all of the other teams who have qualified failed to rank at all.

Just don’t do it:

Perhaps this is a little negative, but do we really need a third European competition? Let’s call it what it is, the Europa Conference League is little more than a cash-grab to get more football on T.V. It’s the very reason these bigger teams will feature, but is it really necessary?

Perhaps I’m just a fan of a big club, not appreciating the bigger picture. But, I really can’t understand on the footballing side what the need is. You could argue smaller club’s deserve European Football too, but is that not what the dream of Champions/Europa League is all about? That one day, if the stars lined up just right, your club could be playing in those competitions. In the grand scheme of it all, the Europa Conference League seems entirely unnecessary and pointless

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