Champions Valletta were drawn with B36 Torshavn of the Faroe Islands in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League as the draws were held in Nyon on Monday. The first leg is due to be played at the Hibernians Stadium on June 28 with the return leg scheduled for the following week.
In the second qualifying round, should Valletta qualify for the next stage, they would face Serbian giants FK Crvena Zvezda (Red Star Belgrade).
B36 had eliminated Birkirkara in 2006 when the two teams were paired in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League.
That was only second time they reached a second round as one year earlier they had eliminated IBV of Iceland with a 3-2 aggregate score in the UEFA Cup.
B36 Tórshavn is among the most successful football clubs in the Faroe Islands, having won the Faroe Islands Premier League 11 times, the Faroese Cup 5 times and the Faroese Super Cup once. Last season they won the championship with 61 points, seven ahead of runners-up NSI. They are currently fourth in the Meistaradeildin with 26 points from fifteen matches, nine points behind leaders KI.
Valletta qualified for a further round in UEFA competitions on five occasions. They eliminated Barry Town of Wales with an aggregate score of 3-2 in the UEFA Champions League in 1999, Keflavik of Iceland 5-2 in the Europa League in 2009, Tre Fiori of San Marino 5-1 in the Champions League in 2011, Lusitanos of Andorra 9-0 in the Champions League 2012 and Fiorita of San Marino 4-0 in the Europa League 2013.
Last season, they were eliminated by Newtown of Wales from the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League after losing with a 2-4 aggregate score.
Meanwhile should they make it to the second qualifying round, FK Crvena Zvezda would be Valletta’s opponents with the first leg scheduled at home.
FK Crvena Zvezda, better known as Red Star Belgrade, won the championship a record 27 times – the Yugoslav championship 19 times, the First League of Serbia & Montenegro 5 times and the Serbian Super Liga three times. They won the cup a record 24 times – twelve Yugoslav Cups, nine Serbia & Montenegro Cups and three Serbian Cups. Red Star Belgrade. Last season, they won the championship, remaining unbeaten to collect 82 points from thirty matches, twenty-eight points ahead of rivals Partizan.
They won the Champions Cup in 1991 after defeating Olympique Marseille on penalties. They also reached the semi-finals of the same competition in 1957 and 1971 but were eliminated by Fiorentina and Panathinaikos respectively. In 1979, they reached the final of the UEFA Cup but lost 1-2 on aggregate to Borussia Monchengladbach. In 1991, they won the Intercontinental Cup after defeating Colo Colo of Chile 3-0.
This will be Red Star Belgrade’s second visit to Malta for a clash in one of the European competitions as in 1982, they were paired with Hibernians in the first round of the Champions Cup, winning 2-1 in Malta and 8-1 in Belgrade.
First qualifying round draw (28/29 June & 5/6 July)
Flora Tallinn (EST) v Lincoln (GIB)
The New Saints (WAL) v Tre Penne (SMR)
Valletta (MLT) v B36 Tórshavn (FRO)
Santa Coloma (AND) v Alashkert (ARM)
Second qualifying round draw (12/13 & 19/20 July)
Qarabağ (AZE) v F91 Dudelange (LUX)
Hapoel Beer-Sheva (ISR) v Sheriff (MDA)
Olimpija Ljubljana (SVN) v Trenčín (SVK)
Salzburg (AUT) v Liepāja (LVA)
Vardar (MKD) v GNK Dinamo (CRO)
The New Saints (WAL)/Tre Penne (SMR) v APOEL (CYP)
Zrinjski (BIH) v Legia Warszawa (POL)
Ludogorets Razgrad (BUL) v Mladost Podgorica (MNE)
Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v Santa Coloma (AND)/Alashkert (ARM)
Žalgiris Vilnius (LTU) v Astana (KAZ)
Skënderbeu* (ALB) v Ferencváros (HUN)
BATE Borisov (BLR) v SJK Seinäjoki (FIN)
Valletta (MLT)/B36 Tórshavn (FRO) v Crvena zvezda (SRB)
Rosenborg (NOR) v IFK Norrköping (SWE)
Dundalk (IRL) v FH Hafnarfjördur (ISL)
Flora Tallinn (EST)/Lincoln (GIB) v Celtic (SCO)
Crusaders (NIR) v FC København (DEN)
* Skënderbeu are admitted on provisional measures pending a CAS decision. The hearing is scheduled for 5/6 July 2016.