The UEFA Europa League is the second-tier competition of European club football, ranking below the UEFA Champions League and above the UEFA Europa Conference League. It was previously known as the UEFA Cup but was renamed to the UEFA Europa League prior to the 2009/10 season.
Introduced in 1971 as the UEFA Cup, it replaced the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup and was the third-tier competition until 1999, when the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup was discontinued and merged with the UEFA Cup. The first ever UEFA Cup final was played between two English sides, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur, with the latter coming out on top 3-2 on aggregate.
UEFA Cup finals were played as two-legged ties before it was changed to just one game in 1997.
A change in format led to the renaming of the competition to the UEFA Europa League in 2009, which also included an expanded group stage. Atletico Madrid were the first winners of the newly formed competition, defeating Fulham in the final in 2010.
Atletico are amongst 14 UEFA Cup and Europa League victories for Spanish clubs, with Sevilla being the most successful with seven titles. In total, the trophy has been lifted by 29 different clubs, with almost half of them winning it more than once (14). Sevilla are also the current holders, having beaten Roma 4-1 on penalties in May.