The Europa League has for long been a shadow competition compared to its sister competition the Champions League. Many football fans will admit to having this bias and will frown at their team’s participation in the competition. In this post, we look at some of the reasons why the Europa League is frowned upon by many fans and teams in Europe’s top leagues.
1. Shortcut to the Champions League
Since the 2014/15 season, the winner of the Europa League automatically qualifies for the Champions League group stages. This qualification is regardless of the team’s position in the domestic league the previous season. Many top teams see this as an unworthy reward. They would prefer that Europa league winners only gain automatic qualification for the next season’s Europa League instead.
2. Thursday Night Football
In some circles, some people refer to the Europa League competition as Thursday night football. This process of hosting games on a Thursday night not only inconveniences many fans but teams that have to play domestic matches on weekends. The effect of these matches is that many players are unfit when it reaches the weekend, especially where long travelling is involved. It can affect the performance of many teams in the domestic league.
3. It is a Fall From Grace
For many fans of top teams, playing in the Europa League after elimination from the Champions League or failing to qualify for the group stages is a fall from grace. Many interpret this as a lack of quality in matters football and points towards the team deteriorating in status. This bias has contributed heavily to the Europa League, not attaining the top status that it deserves. Additionally, most managers of top teams field academy players or regularly benched players for such matches which further contributes to the bias.