The UEFA Europa League group stage takes off.
This annual association football championship sees European football clubs competing for glory and qualification in the UEFA Super Cup .
From the 2009-2010 season onwards, the UEFA Cup merged with the UEFA Intertoto Cup and was consequently re-branded as the UEFA Europa League. The UEFA Europa League allows an extra 16 teams to qualify in the competition, leading to an enlarged competition format with an expanded groups stage.
The qualification criteria are based on clubs' performances in national leagues and cup competitions.
Teams are rewarded with cash prizes whose amount is fixed and dependant on the level reached within the competition.
The competition usually begins in September, with the final taking place in May of the following year.