Two Welsh Premier League clubs will already be starting their preparations for next season with the draw for the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League Preliminary round which is held today in Nyon, Switzerland.
Bala Town (seeded) and Cefn Druids (unseeded) join 12 other clubs from nations ranked 48th – 55th in UEFA’s association rankings, with the first legs to be played on the week commencing Monday 25th June.
Connah’s Quay are the league’s third Europa League entrant, but it was confirmed yesterday that they have will be entering the competition’s first qualifying round.
A statement on the Nomads website confirmed: Following a restructure to the competition, it was believed that all Welsh teams would be entering a new preliminary round alongside teams from Malta, Lithuania, Gibraltar, Faroe Islands, San Marino, Andorra and Kosovo.
Due to domestic results in England, Spain and France, the knock on effect has seen a free space open up in Qualifying Round Three (QR3). With Cup Winners taking precedence in the Europa League, this meant that the Cup Winner of the 18th country on the ranking list (Denmark) would be advanced to QR3, the Cup Winner of the 25th country (Norway) would be advanced to QR2 and the winners of the cups for countries ranking 50th and 51st (Wales and Faroe Islands) would automatically be advanced to QR1.
As a result, Connah’s Quay Nomads will now await their opposition from the draw at UEFA Headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland on Tuesday 19th June while the other Welsh contingent, Bala Town and Cefn Druids will find out their opponents in the Preliminary Round this week.
The Nomads enter the competition as an unseeded side. Some of the more well-known, seeded sides in the competition who The Nomads could be drawn against include Danish giants, FC Copenhagen, Norwegian Side FK Molde who are managed by Manchester United legend, Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Steven Gerrard’s new side, Rangers.