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The European dilemma: evaluating the implications of UEFA Europa League participation on English Premier League clubs

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For clubs qualifying for the UEFA Europa League, participation generates a series of tensions. Football’s European governing body, UEFA, has provided generous financial rewards for those clubs, but with qualification comes additional pressures on playing squads which are often less able to deal with the performative demands of an extra competition, as they generally possess fewer financial resources compared with teams that regularly gain UEFA Champions League qualification. This paper evaluates these conflicting tensions.

The study takes a detailed quantitative analysis of the associated costs and benefits for four Premier League clubs that have repeatedly participated in the Europa League over an eight seasons. The analysis demonstrates a positive financial benefit of participation, but this is only significant if the club progresses to the later stages of the competition and has a robust playing squad. Participation may also have further less tangible benefits.
This research fills a gap in a lack of analysis based on reliable empirical data as to the impact of participation in this competition on clubs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
JournalSoccer & Society
Publication statusEarly online - 29 Jul 2015


  • COXa_2015_cright_SS_The European dilemma

    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Soccer and Society on 29 July 2015, available online:

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 850 KB, PDF document

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