UEFA wants clubs to boost Europa brand

UEFA wants leading players and managers to boost the profile of the UEFA Europa League by singing its praises in public.

European football's governing body is concerned that the competition is being left behind by the UEFA Champions League and wants the clubs involved to help lift its profile.

All clubs in the competition have been given information sheets, including phrases such as "prestigious" and "rich in heritage", accroding to media reports in Britain.

"The most important quality we want to communicate is that the UEFA Europa League is dramatic," the sheet reads.

With many clubs fielding weakened teams in the Europa League, UEFA wants to restore it to a competition every team wants to win.

But with the financial rewards of the Champions League vastly superior to the Europa League, it is proving difficult, especially in England.

According to media reports, the prompt sheet asks clubs' press officers to brief players and coaches on the Europa League's virtues.

The sheet tells clubs to stress the prestigious nature of competing in Europe and emphasises its history.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas Boas, who won the event with Porto, said he did not understand why the Europa League was considered second-rate, especially in England.

"I respect the competition," he said.

"I certainly think it is viewed as a punishment in England and I cannot understand why.

"It is a traditional trophy. We have lost the Cup Winners' Cup, which I did not think was a good decision. But it was taken to enrich the Europa League."

Last season, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson described having to play Thursday and Sunday as "a punishment" after his side fell out of the Champions League at the group stages, and into the Europa League.

This season, Liverpool is one of the clubs who has rotated its side for Europa League competition.