The UEFA Europa League has changed for the 2024/25 season – different to when Manchester United last participated

Are these changes for the better though?

At the end of the 2023/24 Premier League season, United had not qualified for any European competition through their position in the league table – United finished eighth in the league – the lowest they have finished since the inception of the Premier League in the 1992/93 season.

To earn European football during the 2024/25 season, United needed to beat Manchester City in the Emirates FA Cup final at Wembley on the 24 May 2024. United won by the same scoreline they lost to City in the 2022/23 season – 2-1 with goals from Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo.

The victory saw United qualify for the UEFA Europa League, which saw Newcastle United, who finished seventh in the Premier League, drop out of European competition altogether. This coming season (2024/25) will see some major changes to the Europa League.

What are the changes to the UEFA Europa League ahead of the 2024/25 season?

The group stage has now gone. Each participant in the competition, after qualifying rounds, will play in a league system which is based on the Swiss Model. There will be 36 teams in the competition, coming from four league stage pots – each team playing eight matches before the next round.

Where a team finished in the league system will dictate their next step in the competition. For example, team finishing first to eighth place will reach the round of 16 stage in the Europa League. Ninth to twenty-fourth will face a play-off round – home and away – to reach the round of 16.

Teams that finish from twenty-fifth to thirty-sixth place will be eliminated from the Europa League. This will guarantee more matches for club, which is not going to be great for teams like United, who at the time will be participating in the Premier League, Europa League and the Carabao Cup.

After the initial stages, the Europa League will continue to run in the same way as it was from the round of 16 stage with home and away legs in that round, the quarter-final and the semi-final and a one-legged final played at the end of the season. It could be a good money-maker for smaller clubs.

How will the draw for the UEFA Europa League new league stage work?

Every team in the competition will be drawn against two teams from each of the four Europa League pots. In the league format, teams will not play each other home and away, as has been the case in prior seasons of the competition. Each team will play four home matches and four away matches.

The eight matches will be against each team once – no repeat fixtures in the league stage – home and away leg matches will commence in the round of 16 stage – or in the play-off round for those teams finishing ninth to twenty-fourth in the league system.

It means that for teams winning the UEFA Europa League from the 2024/25 season, a total of 17 matches will be played from the starts of the League Stage to the final – with those teams who has to qualify playing a lot more matches than they would have in previous seasons.

What pot placement will Manchester United have in the UEFA Europa League draw?

United will be placed on Pot 1 with fellow Premier League site Tottenham Hotspur, which qualified for the competition by finishing fifth in the Premier League during the 2023/24 season.

When will the draw for the UEFA Europe League League Stage take place?

The draw for the League Stage of the Europa League will take place after the qualification stage of the competition on Thursday 28 August 2024.

When will the League Stage matches take place?

The League Stage matches will take place on the following dates, which are yet to be arranged;

25/26 September, 3 October, 3 October, 24 October, 7 November, 28 November, 12 December, 23 January 2025 and the 30 January.

The Knockout round play-offs – 13 and 20 February with the Round of 16 – 6 and 13 March. The Quarter-finals – 10 and 17 April with the Semi-finals – 1 and 8 May. The Final will be played at the Estadio de San Mamés in Bilbao, Spain on Wednesday 21 May 2025.

Written by Paul

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I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.