How does the UEFA Europa League work? Competition format explained for 2023/24

The 2023/24 UEFA Europa League offers teams from across the continent the chance to win European silverware this season.

There is extra Premier League interest in the tournament with English trio Liverpool, West Ham and Brighton & Hove Albion all reaching the knockout stages.

Liverpool have made a strong return to the competition, in their first appearance since 2016, with West Ham’s UEFA Europa Conference League title moving them into the Europa League, alongside European debutants Brighton.

The group stage ends in December, and the competition restarts on February 14, 2024, with sides from across Europe dreaming of glory at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on May 22, 2024. 

MORE: Europa League draw results: 2023/24 group stage teams, fixtures

How does the UEFA Europa League work?

For the group stages, 32 qualified teams were divided into eight groups of four teams each, with the top two sides in each group in a position to qualify for the knockout stages.

Group winners automatically qualify for the Round of 16 knockout round and runners-up compete in playoffs against teams dropping down from the Champions League.

MORE: Where is 2024 Europa League final? Venue for European final this season

How does the 2023/24 Europa League group stage work?

The final group standings are determined first by total points, and then by goal difference. The group winners progress automatically to the knockout round, while those who finish second enter a playoff round against eight teams dropping out of the Champions League after finishing third in their group.

Those who finish third in their Europa League group will go into a playoff round to enter the Europa Conference League. The teams that finish bottom of the group will be out of European competition for the rest of the season.

How do the 2023/24 Europa League knockout stages work?

The eight group winners will be the seeded teams for the Europa League Round of 16. They will be drawn against the winners of the eight playoff ties, which begin on March 7, 2024.

At this point, the Europa League becomes a straightforward knockout competition. The team that wins via aggregate score in the two-legged Round of 16 ties progress to the quarterfinals — another two-legged affair — which take place on April 11 and 18.

The quarterfinal winners go on to the semifinals on May 2 and 9, from which two teams will reach the final.

If scores are level after both legs, extra-time and then penalties if needed, will decide the winner.

Round 1st Leg 2nd Leg
Round of 16 playoffs Feb. 15, 2024 Feb. 22, 2024
Round of 16 Mar. 7, 2024 Mar. 14, 2024
Quarterfinals Apr. 11, 2024 Apr. 18, 2024
Semifinals May 2, 2024 May 9, 2024
Final May 22, 2024

Where is the 2024 Europa League final?

The 2024 UEFA Europa League final takes place at the Aviva Arena in Dublin on May 22, 2024.

How to watch Europa League around the world

  TV channel Streaming
Australia Stan Sport
Canada DAZN
Hong Kong beIN Sports beIN Sports Connect
India Sony TEN Sony LIV
Malaysia beIN Sports beIN Sports Connect
New Zealand beIN Sports Connect
Singapore beIN Sports beIN Sports Connect
UK TNT Sports TNT Sports, discovery+
USA Univision Paramount+,

UK: Matches are broadcast on TNT Sports and streamed on their site and app platforms plus additional options via discovery+.

USA: Matches are available to stream on Paramount+ (English) and Univision channels (Spanish).

Canada: Every Europa League game streams live on DAZN.

Australia: Every match of the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League streams on Stan Sport ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport.

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