Valletta FC were drawn with Newtown A.F.C. of Wales, Balzan were paired with FK Željezničar of Bosnia and Herzegovina while Birkirkara will be meeting Ulisses FC of Armenia in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League. The draws were held in Nyon on Monday.
The first qualifying round will be held on July 2 and 9. Balzan and Birkirkara play the first leg at home
This is the second time, Valletta were drawn with a Welsh team after the Citizens had eliminated Barry Town from the UEFA Champions League in 1999 following a goalless draw in Wales and 3-2 win at Ta’ Qali. Birkirkara will be the first Maltese club to face one from Armenia in a UEFA club competition. On the other hand, although FK Željezničar will meeting a Maltese club for the first time in a UEFA competition, their city rivals, FK Sarajevo, had eliminated two Maltese clubs, Marsaxlokk and Hibernians in recent years.
In the second qualifying round, should Birkirkara qualify, they would face West Ham United or FC Lusitans of Andorra. Balzan would meet the winner of the clash between Go Ahead Eagles (NED) and Ferencvaros (HUN) – first leg away from home while Valletta would be playing against F.C. København of Denmark. Second qualifying round matches are scheduled for July 16 and 23.
Valletta’s opponents, Newtown Association Football Club are a Welsh Football Club who play in the Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League. Newtown AFC are one of only three clubs that can claim unbroken membership of the league since its formation in 1992, along with Aberystwyth Town and Bangor City.
The club was founded in 1875 as Newtown White Stars, and were one of the founder members of the Football Association of Wales. Newtown White Stars, which appeared in the first ever Welsh Cup match on 13 October 1877, is believed to have merged with Newtown Excelsior to form the current Newtown AFC in time to be Welsh Cup finalists in 1885 and 1888.
This is only their third participation in a UEFA competition. They took part in the UEFA Cup 1996/97 when they were eliminated by Skonto Riga of Latvia with a 1-7 aggregate score and then in the UEFA Cup 1998/99 when they lost to Wisla Krakow with a 0–7 aggregate score.
Last season, Newtown AFC placed sixth in the Welsh Premier League Championship Pool to secure a place in the play-offs where they defeated Aberystwyth Town 2-1. In the Welsh Cup, they reached the final but lost 0-2 to champions The New Saints.
Balzan’s opponents, Fudbalski klub Željezničar is a Bosnian professional football club based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Željezničar is the most successful football team in Bosnia, having won 6 Bosnian championships (1997–98, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2009–10, 2011–12, 2012–13), 5 Bosnian Cups (1999–2000, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2010–11, 2011–12) and 2 Bosnian Super Cups (1998 and 2000).
During the time of the former Yugoslavia, FK Željezničar were national champions once in the 1971–72 season, qualifying the club for the European Cup during the 1972/73 season where they were eliminated in the first round. The club has also finished as runners-up once in the league, as well as playing in a 1980–81 Yugoslav Cup final. In Europe, the club is most famous for reaching both the UEFA Cup semi-finals during the 1984–85 season and the quarter-finals during the 1971–72 season. They became the first Bosnian team to reach the UEFA Cup semi-finals and one of the few teams ever to do so from Yugoslavia.
Their best achievements in Europe in recent years were qualifying for the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League in 2002/03 when they were eliminated by Newcastle and in the UEFA Europa League 2011/12 when they were eliminated by Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Željezničar took the runner-up spot in the Premier Liga last season, finishing three points behind champions FK Sarajevo.
Birkirkara’s opponents, Ulisses Football Club, are based in the capital of Armenia, Yerevan. The club was founded in 2000 as Dinamo-2000 FC and first changed their name in 2004 to Dinamo-Zenit FC and eventually to Ulisses FC in 2006.
In 2011, Ulisses won their first major honour when they won Armenian championship for the first time in club history and ended Pyunik’s dominance of 10 consecutive championships. Last season, they placed second, eleven points behind champions Pyunik. They were eliminated from the quarter-finals of the Armenian Cup.
This will be the fourth time, they are taking part in a UEFA competition after losing on a 0-1 aggregate to Bnei Yehuda Tel-Aviv of Israel in the Europa League 2010/11, 0-5 to Ferencvaros in the UEFA Europa League 2011/12 and 0-2 to FC Sheriff Tiraspol of Moldova in the UEFA Champions League 2012/13.
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE
First qualifying round draw
Víkingur Reykjavík (ISL) v NK Koper
Newtown AFC (WAL) v Valletta FC (MLT)
Glenavon FC (NIR) v FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk (BLR)
NSÍ Runavík (FRO) v Linfield FC (NIR)
FK Atlantas Klaipėda (LTU) v PFC Beroe Stara Zagora (BUL)
FK Spartaks Jūrmala (LVA) v FK Budućnost Podgorica (MNE)
FC Progrès Niederkorn (LUX) v Shamrock Rovers FC (IRL)
Cork City FC (IRL) v KR Reykjavík (ISL)
University College Dublin AFC (IRL)* v F91 Dudelange (LUX)
FC Sheriff (MDA) v Odds BK (NOR)
FC Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v Qäbälä FK (AZE)
FC Differdange 03 (LUX) v Bala Town FC (WAL)
Brøndby IF (DEN) v AC Juvenes/Dogana (SMR)
Debreceni VSC (HUN) v FK Sutjeska (MNE)
FK Crvena zvezda (SRB) v FC Kairat Almaty (KAZ)
FC Aktobe (KAZ) v Nõmme Kalju FC (EST)
Go Ahead Eagles (NED)* v Ferencvárosi TC (HUN)
NK Domžale (SVN) v FK Čukarički (SRB)
FK Kukësi (ALB) v FC Torpedo Zhodino (BLR)
KF Renova (MNE) v FC Dacia Chisinau (MDA)
KF Shkëndija (MKD) v Aberdeen FC (SCO)
MTK Budapest (HUN) v FK Vojvodina (SRB)
FC Ordabasy Shymkent (KAZ) v Beitar Jerusalem FC (ISL)
FC Flora Tallinn (EST) v FK Rabotnicki (MKD)
FC Dinamo Batumi (GEO) v AC Omonia (CYP)
FK Trakai (LTU) v HB Tórshavn (FRO)
Glentoran FC (NIR) v MŠK Žilina (SVK)
Alashkert FC (ARM) v Saint Johnstone FC (SCO)
FK Olimpic Sarajevo (BIH) v FC Spartak Trnava (SVK)
Víkingur (FRO) v Rosenborg BK (NOR)
Skonto FC (LVA) v Saint Patrick’s Athletic FC (IRL)
Balzan FC (MLT) v FK Željezničar (BIH)
UE Sant Julià (AND) v Randers FC (DEN)
FK Kruoja Pakruojis (LTU) v Jagiellonia Białystok (POL)
KF Laçi (ALB) v İnter Bakı PİK (AZE)
FK Partizani (ALB) v Strømsgodset IF (NOR)
FK Jelgava (LVA) v PFC Litex Lovech (BUL)
FC Lusitans (AND) v West Ham United FC (ENG)*
SJK Seinäjoki (FIN) v FH Hafnarfjördur (ISL)
FC Lahti (FIN) v IF Elfsborg (SWE)
JK Sillamäe Kalev (EST) v HNK Hajduk Split (CRO)
FC Saxan (MDA) v Apollon Limassol FC (CYP)
FC Shirak (ARM) v HŠK Zrinjski (BIH)
VPS Vaasa (FIN) v AIK Solna (SWE)
FK Mladost Podgorica (MNE) v Neftçi PFK (AZE)
NK Celje (SVN) v WKS Śląsk Wrocław (POL)
SP La Fiorita (SMR) v FC Vaduz (LIE)
Birkirkara FC (MLT) v Ulisses FC (ARM)
AUK Broughton FC (WAL) v NK Lokomotiva Zagreb (CRO)
FC Botoşani (ROU) v Tskhinvali (GEO)
Europa FC (GIB) v ŠK Slovan Bratislava (SVK)
*Respect Fair Play entrants
Second qualifying round draw
FK Kukësi (ALB)/FC Torpedo Zhodino (BLR) v FK Mladost Podgorica (MNE)/Neftçi PFK (AZE)
FK Atlantas Klaipėda (LTU)/PFC Beroe Stara Zagora (BUL) v Brøndby IF (DEN)/AC Juvenes/Dogana (SMR)
FC Progrès Niederkorn (LUX)/Shamrock Rovers FC (IRL) v FC Sheriff (MDA)/Odds BK (NOR)
AUK Broughton FC (WAL)/NK Lokomotiva Zagreb (CRO) v PAOK FC (GRE)
Cork City FC (IRL)/KR Reykjavík (ISL) v Víkingur (FRO)/Rosenborg BK (NOR)
Hapoel Beer Sheva FC v FC Thun
Europa FC (GIB)/ŠK Slovan Bratislava (SVK) v University College Dublin AFC (IRL)*/F91 Dudelange (LUX)
VPS Vaasa (FIN)/AIK Solna (SWE) v FC Shirak (ARM)/HŠK Zrinjski (BIH)
FK Crvena zvezda (SRB)/FC Kairat Almaty (KAZ) v Alashkert FC (ARM)/Saint Johnstone FC (SCO)
Go Ahead Eagles (NED)*/Ferencvárosi TC (HUN) v Balzan FC (MLT)/FK Željezničar (BIH)
Legia Warszawa (POL) v FC Botoşani (ROU)/Tskhinvali (GEO)
MTK Budapest (HUN)/FK Vojvodina (SRB) v FK Spartaks Jūrmala (LVA)/FK Budućnost Podgorica (MNE)
SP La Fiorita (SMR)/FC Vaduz (LIE) v FC Aktobe (KAZ)/Nõmme Kalju FC (EST)
KF Renova (MNE)/FC Dacia Chisinau (MDA) v Glentoran FC (NIR)/MŠK Žilina (SVK)
FK Kruoja Pakruojis (LTU)/Jagiellonia Białystok (POL) v FC Dinamo Batumi (GEO)/AC Omonia (CYP)
FK Jelgava (LVA)/PFC Litex Lovech (BUL) v FC Flora Tallinn (EST)/FK Rabotnicki (MKD)
FK Mladá Boleslav (CZE) v FK Partizani (ALB)/Strømsgodset IF (NOR)
SJK Seinäjoki (FIN)/FH Hafnarfjördur (ISL) v KF Laçi (ALB)/İnter Bakı PİK (AZE)
NK Domžale (SVN)/FK Čukarički (SRB) v FC Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO)/Qäbälä FK (AZE)
PFC Cherno More Varna (BUL) v FC Dinamo Minsk (BLR)
Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC (SCO) v FC Astra Giurgiu (ROU)
Glenavon FC (NIR)/FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk (BLR) v Wolfsberger AC
HNK Rijeka v KF Shkëndija (MKD)/Aberdeen FC (SCO)
FK Olimpic Sarajevo (BIH)/FC Spartak Trnava (SVK) v NSÍ Runavík (FRO)/Linfield FC (NIR)
Trabzonspor AŞ (TUR)v FC Differdange 03 (LUX)/Bala Town FC (WAL)
FC Lusitans (AND)/West Ham United FC (ENG)* v Birkirkara FC (MLT)/Ulisses FC (ARM)
FC København (DEN) v Newtown AFC (WAL)/Valletta FC (MLT)
R. Charleroi SC (BEL) v FC Ordabasy Shymkent (KAZ)/Beitar Jerusalem FC (ISL)
FC Saxan (MDA)/Apollon Limassol FC (CYP) v FK Trakai (LTU)/HB Tórshavn (FRO)
NK Celje (SVN)/WKS Śląsk Wrocław (POL) v IFK Göteborg (SWE)
UE Sant Julià (AND)/Randers FC (DEN) v FC Lahti (FIN)/IF Elfsborg (SWE)
Víkingur Reykjavík (ISL)/NK Koper (SVN) v JK Sillamäe Kalev (EST)/HNK Hajduk Split (CRO)
Skonto FC (LVA)/Saint Patrick’s Athletic FC (IRL) v Debreceni VSC (HUN)/FK Sutjeska (MNE)