Champions League: Preliminary round draw made 10 days after Liverpool triumph

It has only been 10 days since Liverpool lifted the Champions League trophy but the starting gun has already been fired for next season’s competition.

Four teams – from Andorra, Gibraltar, Kosovo and San Marino – were in Tuesday’s draw for the preliminary round, which will take the form of a mini-tournament in Kosovo.

The semi-finals – Feronikeli v Lincoln Red Imps and Tre Penne v FC Santa Coloma – will be on 25 June and the final on 28 June, with the winner earning a spot in the Champions League first qualifying round.

That first qualifying round, which will be drawn on 18 June and take place on 9/10 July and 16/17 July, will be the stage at which Scottish champions Celtic, along with Northern Irish and Welsh counterparts Linfield and The New Saints, enter the fray.

They will have to negotiate three two-legged qualifying rounds and a play-off to make it through to the group stages of Europe’s top club tournament, which will reach its climax in Istanbul on 30 May, 2020.

Defeat along the way will still leave them with a chance of European football next season as they will drop down into the Europa League qualification.

England’s four teams in next season’s Champions League are Premier League winners Manchester City, holders Liverpool, Europa League champions Chelsea, and Tottenham.

They will all enter at the group stage, the draw for which will take place on 29 August. Group games begin on 17/18 September.

In the Europa League, the draw for the preliminary round has also taken place and Northern Ireland’s Cliftonville will play Welsh club Barry Town.

Ballymena will play NSI Runavik of the Faroe Islands, while Cardiff Met have been drawn against Luxembourg’s Progres Niederkorn, with the two-legged ties taking place on 27 June and 4 July.


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