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UEFA Cup rebranded and given new format


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#1 blackzoro

blackzoro

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Posted 27 September 2008 - 09:41 AM

BORDEAUX, France (AP) -- The UEFA Cup is to be renamed the UEFA Europa League from next season with a new format.

UEFA approved the change on Friday and said it would rejuvenate the competition.

The move appears to create a lower-tier version of the Champions League, with 12 groups of four teams playing each other on a home and away basis. Under the current format, clubs only play each other once in the group phase.

"These changes will improve this historic competition and that is very important for UEFA and for European football, as it gives more fans, players and clubs the thrill of European club football," said UEFA President Michel Platini.

"I am convinced the new format will give the UEFA Europa League a successful new impetus."

The UEFA Cup has struggled in the shadow of the lucrative Champions League, which gives teams global exposure and huge television revenues.

While Manchester United earned $67m for winning last season's Champions League, clubs who played in the UEFA Cup's 40-team group phase and subsequent knockout rounds shared a combined $31 million.

The UEFA Cup was last renamed in 1971 when it was a well-regarded competition for clubs who just missed out on their domestic league titles.

Its status has suffered in the last decade as the Champions League expanded to accept teams finishing as low as fourth in their league.

Meanwhile, UEFA also confirmed that Poland and Ukraine would remain the co-hosts of Euro 2012, under "a certain number conditions" to avoid any possible disruption to the tournament. There have been mounting concerns over the two countries' readiness to co-host the European championships.

When UEFA president Michel Platini visited both countries earlier this year he was unhappy at the lack of progress and warned officials they could lose the right to host Euro 2012 if considerable improvements were not made.

It was also officially confirmed that the Euro championships in 2016 would be expanded from 16 teams to 24. The 13-man executive committee voted unanimously for the expansion.