The UEFA Europa League comprises three qualifying rounds, a play-off round, a group stage and five knockout rounds.
In the three qualifying rounds and the play-offs, clubs play two matches against each other on a home-and-away basis. The side that scores the greater aggregate of goals qualifies for the next round, with away goals and then penalties used to determine the winner in the event of a draw.
The play-off round winners join the automatic group stage entrants plus the ten losers from the UEFA Champions League play-offs. The teams are split into 12 groups of four, playing home and away against each of their pool opponents between September and December. Two clubs per section advance, proceeding to the round of 32 alongside eight third-placed sides from the UEFA Champions League group phase.
From the last 32 until the semi-finals, teams face each other on a home-and-away basis with the same rules as the qualifying and play-off rounds applied. In the last 32, the group winners and the four third-placed sides from the UEFA Champions League with the best records are seeded, guaranteeing they play their second leg at home. Clubs from the same group or the same association cannot be drawn together. From the round of 16 onwards the draw is free.
The final is decided by a single game, which this season will be held at St. Jakob-Park, Basel on Wednesday 18 May 2016.
Further details, including the criteria for separating teams that finish level on points in a group, can be found in the official competition regulations.