Inter is still celebrating the May 22nd victory, The Special One is on his way to Madrid. In a nutshell, the UEFA Champions League final hype is still on. In football things go fast and UEFA already issued the Club’s competition 2010-2011 calendar. This schedule includes the Champions League AND the Europa League (previously known as the UEFA Cup). I thought I would share this with you, should you not have underlined the crucial dates yet.
As from the 2009/10 season onwards, there will be four qualifying rounds (including a play-off round), to be played in home-and-away ties, to complete the 32 participants in the UEFA Champions League group stage. There are two qualifying routes; the Champions Path and the Non-Champions Path.
Champions Path: The first qualifying round comprises two two-legged ties involving the champions of the countries ranked 50 to 53 in UEFA competition. The winners of those ties progress to the second qualifying round where they are joined by the champions of the 32 countries ranked 17 to 49 (except Liechtenstein). The victorious sides from those 17 ties join the champions from the associations ranked 14 to 16 in the third qualifying round, with the winners of those ten pairings reaching the play-off round. These five play-off ties will take place on a home-and-away basis with the winners qualifying for the UEFA Champions League group stage.
Non-Champions Path: The third-placed side from the sixth-ranked member association, plus the runners-up from the associations ranked 7 to 15, start the competition in the third qualifying round. The winners of these five ties progress to the play-off round, where they are joined by the fourth-placed sides from the associations ranked 1 to 3 and the third-placed teams from the associations ranked 4 and 5. The victorious teams from the five play-off ties qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage.
• The losing team from each of the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round ties will go into the UEFA Europa League play-offs.
• The losing team from each of the UEFA Champions League play-off ties will go into the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• The team who finishes in third position in each of the UEFA Champions League groups goes into the UEFA Europa League Round of 32. The four best third-ranked teams will be seeded for the Round of 32 with the group winners of the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• The matches in the UEFA Champions League first knockout round will be split over four weeks instead of two, using dates reserved for the UEFA club competition in February and March to maximise live match opportunities.
• The final is to be played on a Saturday, with kick-off time at 20.45 CET.
• The UEFA Champions League play-off rounds will be centrally marketed by UEFA in accordance with the concept already used for the group stage.
2010/11 UEFA club competitions draw schedule
2010/11 UEFA Champions League match calendar
I am looking forward to the upcoming Champions League and Europa League games. In the meantime, update your calendar!
PS: As I am finishing writing this article, the news came. France will host the Euro 2016. Congratulations to the FFF!