Uefa consider introducing women's 'Europa League'

Manchester United Women
Manchester United Women forward Melvine Malard celebrates scoring in the Champions League - Getty/Charlotte Tattersall - MUFC

A proposal to introduce a European second-tier women’s club competition from 2025 will be considered by Uefa’s Executive Committee (ExCo) in Hamburg on Saturday, Telegraph Sport can reveal.

According to a Uefa insider, the prospect of an equivalent tier competition to the men’s Europa League being added for women’s clubs is now ‘closer than ever’, although it could only proceed if it receives the executive committee’s approval this weekend.

It is understood the agenda for Saturday’s meeting of the most powerful figures at Europe’s governing body includes a plan to add a second-tier competition, as well as possible changes to the format of the existing Women’s Champions League being on the agenda too.

Uefa’s women’s tournaments operate on four-year cycles and the current cycle ends after the 2024-25 season, so any changes - if approved by the ExCo - would only come into force from the summer of 2025.

Men’s football currently has three tiers of European club competitions: the Champions League, the Europa League and the Europa Conference League. Sources have suggested that any women’s competition could have a different name, though, and is unlikely to mimic the format of the men’s Europa League. Women’s football has had just one European tier since 2001, with numerous different formats. From 2009 the competition was rebranded as the Women’s Champions League.

Despite excitement in the game at the idea of another competition, sources have warned that England’s Women’s Super League would not necessarily see an immediate rush of extra qualification spots for English teams, because England is currently down in fourth in Uefa’s coefficient rankings, lagging behind France, Germany and Spain.

Arsenal are the only British side to have won a major women’s club-level European title, having lifted a quadruple of major honours in 2007, including what was then known as the Uefa Women’s Cup. The north Londoners beat Swedish side Umea 1-0 on aggregate over a two-legged final, with Alex Scott scoring the final’s only goal in the first leg.

Chelsea are the sole English representatives left in this season’s 16-team group stage, after Arsenal and European debutants Manchester United were both eliminated during the qualifying phases. Manchester United manager Marc Skinner called for changes to what he labelled as a “crazy” current qualifying format, both before and after his side’s exit at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain. It is not yet clear how different the qualification format would be under the plans, but it is looking set to be a major weekend for the future of the club-level women’s game in Europe.

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