The UEFA Europa League
, formerly the UEFA Cup
, is an annual football club competition organised since 1971 by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) for eligible European football clubs. It is the second-tier competition of European club football, ranking below the UEFA Champions League and above the UEFA Europa Conference League. The UEFA Cup was the third-tier competition from 1971 to 1999 before the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup was discontinued, and it is still often referred to as the “C3” in reference of this. Clubs qualify for the competition based on their performance in their national leagues and cup competitions.