2 July – 27 August 2015 (qualifying)
17 September 2015 – 18 May 2016 (competition proper)
|Teams||48+8 (competition proper)|
|Champions||Sevilla (5th title)|
|Goals scored||532 (2.61 per match)|
|Attendance||4,452,731 (21,827 per match)|
|Top scorer(s)||Aritz Aduriz (10 goals)|
The 2015–16 UEFA Europa League will be the 45th season of Europe's secondary club football tournament organised by UEFA, and the 7th season since it was renamed from the UEFA Cup to the UEFA Europa League.
The UEFA Executive Committee held in May and September 2013 approved the following changes to the UEFA Europa League starting from the 2015–16 season (for the three-year cycle until the 2017–18 season):
- The title holders of the UEFA Europa League will qualify for the UEFA Champions League, and therefore no Europa League berth will be reserved for them (however it is still possible for them to defend their title if they drop down to the Europa League after Champions League elimination).
- All associations will have a maximum of three teams entering the Europa League (previously associations 7–9 have four entrants)
- The number of teams directly qualifying for the group stage will be increased to 16 teams from the top 12 associations (from the previous six teams from the top six associations)
- Should the domestic cup winners qualify for the Champions League, the cup runners-up will no longer be granted a spot in the Europa League, and the spot will be given to the highest-placed team in the league which have not yet qualified for European competitions.
Association team allocation
A total of 192 teams from all 54 UEFA member associations are expected to participate in the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League. The association ranking based on the UEFA country coefficients is used to determine the number of participating teams for each association:
- Associations 1–51 (except Liechtenstein) each have three teams qualify.
- Associations 52–53 each have two teams qualify.
- Liechtenstein and Gibraltar each have one team qualify (Liechtenstein organises only a domestic cup and no domestic league; Gibraltar as per decision by the UEFA Executive Committee)
- The top three associations of the 2014–15 UEFA Respect Fair Play ranking each gain an additional berth.
- Moreover, 33 teams eliminated from the 2015–16 UEFA Champions League are transferred to the Europa League.
For the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League, the associations are allocated places according to their 2014 UEFA country coefficients, which takes into account their performance in European competitions from 2009–10 to 2013–14.
The table below shows the default access list. Changes will need to be made in the following cases:
- If the Champions League title holders or the Europa League title holders have qualified for the Europa League through domestic performance, their berth in the Europa League is vacated, and cup winners of the highest-ranked associations are moved to a later round accordingly.
- Depending on whether the Champions League title holders or the Europa League title holders have qualified for the Champions League through domestic performance, changes to the default access list of the Champions League may need to be made (see here). In some cases, the number of losers of the Champions League third qualifying round which are transferred to the Europa League is increased or decreased from the default number of 15. In the earlier case, cup winners of the lowest-ranked associations are moved to an earlier round accordingly, while in the latter case, cup winners of the highest-ranked associations are moved to a later round accordingly.
|Teams entering in this round||Teams advancing from previous round||Teams transferred from Champions League|
|First qualifying round|
|Second qualifying round|
|Third qualifying round|
A Europa League place is vacated when a team qualifies for both the Champions League and the Europa League, or qualifies for the Europa League by more than one method. When a place is vacated, it is redistributed within the national association by the following rules:
- When the domestic cup winners (considered as the "highest-placed" qualifier within the national association with the latest starting round) also qualify for the Champions League, their Europa League place is vacated. As a result, the highest-placed team in the league which have not yet qualified for European competitions qualify for the Europa League, with the Europa League qualifiers which finish above them in the league moved up one "place" (the 2015–16 season will be the first with this particular arrangement where the domestic cup runners-up are no longer guaranteed a place in the Europa League in this scenario).
- When the domestic cup winners also qualify for the Europa League through league position, their place through the league position is vacated. As a result, the highest-placed team in the league which have not yet qualified for European competitions qualify for the Europa League, with the Europa League qualifiers which finish above them in the league moved up one "place" if possible.
- For associations where a Europa League place is reserved for the League Cup winners, they always qualify for the Europa League as the "lowest-placed" qualifier. If the League Cup winners have already qualified for European competitions through other methods, this reserved Europa League place is taken by the highest-placed league team in the league which have not yet qualified for European competitions.
- A Fair Play place is taken by the highest-ranked team in the domestic Fair Play table which have not yet qualified for European competitions.
The labels in the parentheses show how each team qualified for the place of its starting round:
- CW: Cup winners
- 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, etc.: League position
- LC: League Cup winners
- P-W: End-of-season Europa League play-off winners
- FP: Fair Play
- UCL: Transferred from the Champions League
- GS: Third-placed teams from the group stage
- PO: Losers from the play-off round
- Q3: Losers from the third qualifying round
- ^ Bulgaria (BUL): Lokomotiv Sofia, the third-placed team of the 2014–15 A Group, would have qualified for the Europa League first qualifying round, but failed to obtain a UEFA licence. As a result, the berth was given to Litex Lovech, the fourth-placed team of the league. An appeal was denied on 1 June 2015.
- ^ Italy (ITA): Genoa, the sixth-placed team of the 2014–15 Serie A, would have qualified for the Europa League third qualifying round, but failed to obtain a UEFA licence. As a result, the berth was given to Sampdoria, the seventh-placed team of the league. Genoa withdrew their appeal on 3 June 2015.
- ^ Latvia (LVA): Liepāja, the fourth-placed team of the 2014 Latvian Higher League, would have qualified for the Europa League first qualifying round, but failed to obtain a UEFA licence as they were affiliated with the Latvian Football Federation for less than three years after reforming from the dissolved Liepājas Metalurgs. As a result, the berth was given to Spartaks Jūrmala, the sixth-placed team of the league, as Daugava Daugavpils, the fifth-placed team, also failed to obtain a UEFA licence.
- ^ Moldova (MDA): Tiraspol, the fourth-placed team of the 2014–15 Moldovan National Division, would have qualified for the Europa League first qualifying round, but were dissolved at the end of the 2014–15 season. As a result, the berth was given to Saxan, the fifth-placed team of the league.
- ^ Romania (ROU): CFR Cluj, the third-placed team of the 2014–15 Liga I, would have qualified for the Europa League second qualifying round, but were banned by UEFA after failing to settle overdue payables. As a result, Astra Giurgiu, the fourth-placed team of the league, entered the second qualifying round instead of the first qualifying round, while the first qualifying round berth was given to Botoșani, the eighth-placed team of the league, as Petrolul Ploiești, CS U Craiova and Dinamo București, the fifth-, sixth- and seventh-placed teams of the league respectively, all failed to obtain UEFA licences.
- ^ Russia (RUS): Dynamo Moscow, the fourth-placed team of the 2014–15 Russian Premier League, would have qualified for the Europa League third qualifying round, but they were referred to the UEFA's Club Financial Control Body adjudicatory chamber on 24 April 2015 for violating the Financial Fair Play break-even requirements after the club was not able to reach the settlement with UEFA. The meeting regarding the sanctions for the violation was held on 16 June 2015, and on 19 June 2015, it was announced that Dynamo Moscow were excluded from the UEFA Europa League for the 2015–16 season. As a result, the berth was given to Rubin Kazan, the fifth-placed team of the league.
Round and draw dates
The tentative schedule of the competition, to be officially confirmed, is as follows (all draws held at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, unless stated otherwise).
|Phase||Round||Draw date||First leg||Second leg|
|Qualifying||First qualifying round||22 June 2015||2 July 2015||9 July 2015|
|Second qualifying round||16 July 2015||23 July 2015|
|Third qualifying round||17 July 2015||30 July 2015||6 August 2015|
|Play-off||Play-off round||7 August 2015||20 August 2015||27 August 2015|
|Group stage||Matchday 1||28 August 2015|
|17 September 2015|
|Matchday 2||1 October 2015|
|Matchday 3||22 October 2015|
|Matchday 4||5 November 2015|
|Matchday 5||26 November 2015|
|Matchday 6||10 December 2015|
|Knockout phase||Round of 32||14 December 2015||18 February 2016||25 February 2016|
|Round of 16||10 March 2016||17 March 2016|
|Quarter-finals||18 March 2016||7 April 2016||14 April 2016|
|Semi-finals||15 April 2016||28 April 2016||5 May 2016|
|Final||18 May 2016 at venue TBA|
Matches in the qualifying, play-off, and knockout rounds may also be played on Tuesdays or Wednesdays instead of the regular Thursdays due to scheduling conflicts.
In the qualifying rounds and the play-off round, teams are divided into seeded and unseeded teams based on their 2015 UEFA club coefficients, and then drawn into two-legged home-and-away ties. Teams from the same association cannot be drawn against each other.
First qualifying round
The draw for the first and second qualifying round was held on 22 June 2015. With 102 teams involved, it was UEFA's biggest ever tournament draw. The first legs were played on 30 June and 2 July, and the second legs were played on 7 and 9 July 2015.
The first legs were played on 30 June and 2 July, and the second legs were played on 7 and 9 July 2015.
Second qualifying round
A total of 66 teams played in the second qualifying round: 15 teams which entered in this round, and the 51 winners of the first qualifying round. The draw was held on 22 June 2015. (Note: The numbers for each team were pre-assigned by UEFA so that the draw could be held in one run for all groups with 10 teams and another run for all groups with 12 teams.)
The first legs were played on 16 July, and the second legs were played on 21 and 23 July 2015.
Third qualifying round
A total of 58 teams played in the third qualifying round: 25 teams which entered in this round, and the 33 winners of the second qualifying round. The draw was held on 17 July 2015. (Note: The numbers for each team were pre-assigned by UEFA so that the draw could be held in one run for the group with 10 teams and another run for all groups with 12 teams.)
The first legs were played on 29 and 30 July, and the second legs were played on 6 August 2015.
The draw for the play-off round was held on 7 August 2015. The first legs were played on 20 August, and the second legs were played on 27 August 2015.
|Team #1||Agg.||Team #2||1st leg||2nd leg|
|Žilina||3–3 (a)||Athletic Bilbao||3–2||0–1|
|Zorya Luhansk||2–4||Legia Warsaw||0–1||2–3|
|Molde||3–3 (a)||Standard Liège||2–0||1–3|
|Dinamo Minsk||2–2 (3–2 p)||Red Bull Salzburg||2–0||0–2 aet|
|Slovan Liberec||2–0||Hajduk Split||1–0||1–0|
The draw for the group stage was held in Monaco on 28 August 2015. The 48 teams were drawn into twelve groups of four, with the restriction that teams from the same association could not be drawn against each other. For the draw, the teams were seeded into four pots based on their 2015 UEFA club coefficients.
In each group, teams play against each other home-and-away in a round-robin format. The group winners and runners-up advance to the round of 32, where they are joined by the eight third-placed teams of the 2015–16 UEFA Champions League group stage. The matchdays are 17 September, 1 October, 22 October, 5 November, 26 November, and 10 December 2015.
A total of 24 national associations will be represented in the group stage. Augsburg, Belenenses, Gabala, Groningen, Midtjylland, Monaco, Sion and Skënderbeu Korçë will make their debut appearances in the group stage (although Monaco have appeared in the UEFA Cup group stage). Skënderbeu Korçë are the first team from Albania to play in the group stage of any UEFA club competition.
|The teams are ranked according to points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss). If two or more teams are equal on points on completion of the group matches, the following criteria are applied in the order given to determine the rankings (regulations Article 16.01):
|Molde||6||3||2||1||10||7||+3||11||Advance to knockout phase|
|Liverpool||6||2||4||0||6||4||+2||10||Advance to knockout phase|
|Krasnodar||6||4||1||1||9||4||+5||13||Advance to knockout phase|
|Napoli||6||6||0||0||22||3||+19||18||Advance to knockout phase|
|Rapid Wien||6||5||0||1||10||6||+4||15||Advance to knockout phase|
|Braga||6||4||1||1||7||4||+3||13||Advance to knockout phase|
|Lazio||6||4||2||0||13||6||+7||14||Advance to knockout phase|
|Lokomotiv Moscow||6||3||2||1||12||7||+5||11||Advance to knockout phase|
|Basel||6||4||1||1||10||5||+5||13||Advance to knockout phase|
|Tottenham Hotspur||6||4||1||1||12||6||+6||13||Advance to knockout phase|
|Schalke 04||6||4||2||0||15||3||+12||14||Advance to knockout phase|
|Athletic Bilbao||6||4||1||1||16||8||+8||13||Advance to knockout phase|
In the knockout phase, teams play against each other over two legs on a home-and-away basis, except for the one-match final. The mechanism of the draws for each round is as follows:
- In the draw for the round of 32, the twelve group winners and the four third-placed teams from the Champions League group stage with the better group records are seeded, and the twelve group runners-up and the other four third-placed teams from the Champions League group stage are unseeded. The seeded teams are drawn against the unseeded teams, with the seeded teams hosting the second leg. Teams from the same group or the same association cannot be drawn against each other.
- In the draw for the round of 16, the procedure will be confirmed prior to the draw.
- In the draws for the quarter-finals onwards, there are no seedings, and teams from the same group or the same association can be drawn against each other.
Round of 32
|Team #1||Agg.||Team #2||1st leg||2nd leg|
|Shakhtar Donetsk||3–0||Schalke 04||0–0||3–0|
|Sporting CP||1–4||Bayer Leverkusen||0–1||1–3|
Round of 16
The draw for the round of 16 was held on 26 February 2016. The first legs were played on 10 March, and the second legs were played on 17 March 2016.
|Team #1||Agg.||Team #2||1st leg||2nd leg|
|Athletic Bilbao||2–2 (a)||Valencia||1–0||1–2|
|Borussia Dortmund||5–1||Tottenham Hotspur||3–0||2–1|
The draw for the quarter-finals was held on 18 March 2016. The first legs were played on 7 April, and the second legs were played on 14 April 2016.
|Team #1||Agg.||Team #2||1st leg||2nd leg|
|Athletic Bilbao||3–3 (4–5 p)||Sevilla||1–2||2–1 (a.e.t.)|
The draw for the semi-finals was held on 15 April 2016. The first legs were played on 28 April, and the second legs were played on 5 May 2016.
|Team #1||Agg.||Team #2||1st leg||2nd leg|
- Main article: 2016 UEFA Europa League Final
The final was played on 18 May 2016 at the St. Jakob-Park in Basel, Switzerland. The "home" team (for administrative purposes) was determined by an additional draw held after the semi-final draw.
| 18 May 2016|
|Liverpool||1–3||Sevilla|| St. Jakob-Park, Basel|
Referee: Jonas Eriksson (Sweden)
|Sturridge 35'||Report|| Gameiro 46'|
Coke 64', 70'
- UEFA Europa League (official website)
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