Welsh Premier League clubs could be part of newly formed European competition

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Welsh Premier League clubs could be part of a newly formed competition with the working name of the Europa League 2 launched by UEFA yesterday.

The competition will begin in 2021, meaning that there will be two more years of the current format of the Champions League and the Europa League.

Earlier this year, the European Clubs Association met to discuss a possible new competition. UEFA rubber-stamped the concept yesterday, after the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying draw yesterday.

Winners of the JD Welsh Premier League will be unaffected by this and will be entered in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League.

However, the three qualifying spots that Wales posses at the moment could be changed. Currently, three Welsh Premier League teams play in the qualifying stages of the Europa League, which is the second tier competition.

The Europa League will only consist of teams from the top fifteen countries, meaning Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales would be excluded from the second tier competition and instead placed in the UEL2 qualifying rounds.

It will be run in the same format the Europa League, with eight groups of four teams, before reaching a knockout stage. There is a playoff for the teams who have finished second and third. The winner of the competition will then qualify for the Europa League.

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Last season The New Saints reached the penultimate round of qualifying in the UEFA Europa League. Bala Town and Cefn Druids were knocked out in the preliminary round by Tre Fiori and FK Trakai. Welsh Cup winners Connah’s Quay Nomads were knocked out by Shakhtyor Soligorsk.

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The Welsh Premier League is currently ranked 48th in the UEFA coefficient, ahead of countries like Montenegro, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Kosovo, Andorra, and San Marino.

(Featured Image: Lewis Mitchell)

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