During a meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee which was held on Thursday, the Albanian capital of Tirana was appointed as the venue for the first-ever final of the UEFA Europa Conference League, with the match to be played at the brand-new Arena Kombëtare.
UEFA’s new club competition launching in 2021/22 will see 184 teams involved over the course of the season including at least one from each of the 55 associations and 46 clubs transferring from either the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League.
Before the group stage there will be three qualifying rounds and a play-off round (split into a main path, and a champions path for those transferring from the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League champions path).
Malta will be represented by the FA Trophy winners, the runners-up and third-placed team of the BOV Premier League in the first qualifying round of the Main Path of the UEFA Europa Conference League, rather than the UEFA Europa League as it was the case until this season.
The champions will enter the first qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League. If eliminated from the first qualifying round, the Maltese champions will enter the UEFA Europa Conference League second qualifying round champions path.
On the other hand, if eliminated from the second or third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League, the Maltese champions would enter the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round champions path or the UEFA Europa League play-offs respectively.
Meanwhile no teams qualify directly for the group stage of the UEFA Europa Conference League, with the 32 teams consisting of:
• 17 teams from the UEFA Europa Conference League main path
• 5 teams from the UEFA Europa Conference League champions path
• 10 teams eliminated in the UEFA Europa League play-offs
There will be eight groups of four teams, followed by knockout round play-offs, the round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.
The eight group winners automatically go through to the last 16. Additional knockout round play-offs will then be played before the round of 16 between the eight group runners-up and the third-ranked teams of the UEFA Europa League groups.
The UEFA Europa Conference League fixtures will take place on Thursdays along with UEFA Europa League games.