Frequently Asked Questions


1. What is the UEFA Licensing System?

The UEFA Licensing System sets the quality standards that must be met by clubs wishing to participate in a UEFA club competition (Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League).

2. Who can apply for the UEFA License?

The UEFA License must be requested by all Spanish first division football clubs, and when appropriate, by any other clubs that, thanks to sport reasons, will participate in any of the UEFA competitions (as would be, for instance, the case of a 2nd Division club winning the Copa del Rey).

3. Is the UEFA License valid for national competitions?

No. In principle the UEFA License is valid for clubs that qualify for one of the UEFA competitions. The national federations are therefore free to also apply this system at the national level. Specifically, this means that some associations also require their clubs to have a license to participate in national competitions. In fact, most UEFA member associations use this system at national level.

4. Does UEFA itself license the clubs?

No. The license is granted through the national licensor to whom UEFA has delegated, which in the case of Spain is the Royal Spanish Football Federation.

UEFA reserves the right to carry out specific controls both to the RFEF and directly to the Clubs -in the presence of the RFEF- in order to guarantee an equal treatment of all members. If the result of one of these controls is negative, the corresponding club will be excluded from the competition by UEFA.

5. What is the UEFA License granting procedure?

The General Regulations include the schedule for the procedure to applying and being granted the UEFA License, and establish 5 criteria that the Clubs must strictly comply with, which specifically are: (i) sports (ii), infrastructure (iii) administrative and personnel (iv) legal, and (v) financial.

If a certain club does not meet the criteria and requirements demanded by the Regulations, it will not obtain the UEFA License and consequently, even having qualified out of its own sport merits, said club will not be able to participate in UEFA competitions (“Europa League Cup, UEFA Champion League and Europa Conference League”) that are held in the season for which the License was denied.

6. For how long is the UEFA License valid?

The UEFA License will be issued for annual periods and will be valid for the UEFA competitions that are held in the season following the one in which it is requested. Consequently, the UEFA License will expire at the end of the season for which it was issued.

The UEFA License is non-transferable.

7. What regulations apply to the granting of the UEFA License?

The applicable regulations are the General Regulations of the UEFA License, which includes both the required criteria and the schedule to be met.

8. Are the criteria the same for all 53 UEFA member federations?

Yes, UEFA sets a comparative standard for each of the criteria, and each national licensor is free to prepare its own manual, respecting the margin of manoeuvre authorized by UEFA, always safeguarding the minimum criteria required by it. The licensor may determine the number of criteria required (UEFA defines their quality), add additional criteria, improve a criterion, or request an exception in the event that for any particular reason, one of the criteria is not applicable in your country, for example because it would violate a national law in force.

9. Can a license be withdrawn during the season?

In principle, a license should not be withdrawn during the course of a season, to safeguard the integrity of the competition. But in especially serious circumstances, the licensor would be authorized to withdraw the licence, which, on the other hand, would be the most severe sanction proposed by the RFEF's UEFA General Licensing Regulations regarding the granting and management of a license to clubs. However, UEFA defines other sanctions that could be imposed, for example, if UEFA or the RFEF discover during the season that a license has been granted without one of the criteria being met (facts revealed at the end of the decision process). UEFA could thus sanction a club through its jurisdictional bodies, based on its disciplinary regulations (for instance, prohibition to participate in a future competition).

10. What will happen to clubs that have qualified for a European competition but have not been licensed?

Without the license a club cannot participate in a UEFA club competition. In the event that a club does not meet the required criteria for the license, its place in the corresponding competition will be granted to the club that has qualified immediately after in the competition and that is the valid beneficiary of a license.

11. What will happen to clubs that owe money to other clubs, will they be excluded from UEFA competitions?

To participate in UEFA club competitions, clubs must prove that at the closing date of their books, they are not in debt to other clubs for non-payments due to transfer activities. In other words, they must have paid all their debts at the end of the financial year. In the event that the clubs present debts during the season, they will not be excluded from the competitions.

12. What happens when a club's stadium does not meet the requirements required by UEFA? Can the club play in another stadium?

Yes, provided that this stadium meets the minimum criteria set by UEFA and that the club provides a contract that confirms the right to use said stadium for UEFA club competitions during the relevant season.