UEFA has called on clubs taking part in the UEFA Europa League to help give the new competition the prestige and standing that the European governing body feels it deserves.
Full group stage
The UEFA Europa League is kicking off this season, replacing the UEFA Cup. It will include a full group stage of home and away matches, a centralised marketing approach and a new name and visual identity.
"After nearly four decades of glorious existence, the UEFA Cup has finally handed over to the new-born UEFA Europa League," UEFA competitions director Giorgio Marchetti told club representatives at the ceremony for the third qualifying round draw in Nyon on Friday. "Thirty-seven years of European challenges involving some of the best clubs and players, delivering thrilling emotions to millions of fans.
"With the new competition format and centralised media rights management, we expect the UEFA Europa League to grow in appeal and stature. But the most important success factor will be the support and full commitment of all clubs. UEFA and the clubs share the same aspiration – an exciting European football adventure and a brilliant showcase for football fans within the stadiums and in front of their television sets."
Support the Respect campaign
Marchetti also asked clubs taking part in the UEFA Europa League to support UEFA in its Respect campaign promoting fair play and diversity on and off the field. He appealed for positive steps to be taken against negative phenomena within the game, such as racism. "Let us not allow the enemies of [positive] values to find a place in our sport," he said. "Help us in our campaign for clean, sound football."
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