Created in 2009, UEFA’s Europa League represented the third incarnation of its second-tier competition, following the Fairs Cup and UEFA Cup. The rebranding included a merger with the oft-maligned Intertoto Cup, an enlarged competition format and an expanded group stage. Greater prize money was provided by UEFA in an attempt to reduce the economic polarisation between regular Champions League qualifiers and the rest of the pack. UEFA also used the competition as a testing ground for various experiments, including the use of two additional match officials.
Everton entered the inaugural round of the competition in 2009, reaching the Round of 32 before falling to Sporting Lisbon.
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