UEFA club competitions for 2020/21 could kick-off in third week of August

New dates for the UEFA club competitions are yet to be confirmed after being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic but the early stages of the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League could be kick-off in the third week of August.

Maltese clubs participating in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League will be entering the competitions in the first qualifying round.

Floriana will be representing Malta in the UEFA Champions League while Valletta, Hibernians and Sirens will represent Malta in the UEFA Europa League.

The UEFA Executive Committee meeting scheduled for June 17 should give a further indication on the dates but it is believed that the European body plans to kick-off the 2020/21 UEFA club competitions in the third week of August.

The first qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League was originally scheduled for 7/8 July (first leg) and 14/15 July (second leg) while the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League was scheduled for July 9 and 16.

One possibility which is being considered is that qualifying round matches are played on one leg rather than the usual home-and-away. This concept was due to be used in the play-offs of the EURO 2020 where teams drawn first would have hosted the game.

Meanwhile as regards national team competitions, UEFA is expected to decide whether the UEFA Nations League qualifiers would be held as scheduled.

UEFA Nations League matches were due to be played on 3-5 and 6-8 September, 8-10 and 11-13 October and 12-14 and 15-17 November. However with the play-off matches for UEFA EURO 2020 yet to be played after being postponed in March, the European body is considering holding the semi-finals of the play-offs in October and the finals in November.

In that case, teams still involved in the play-offs will be playing three matches in October – two from the Nations League and a semi-final of the EURO 2020 play-offs – and if they reach the finals of the play-offs – another three in November.

Malta is due to play the Faroe Islands in Torshavn on September 3, host Latvia on September 6, play Andorra away from home on October 9 and Latvia on October 12 and finally hosting Andorra on November 14 and the Faroe Islands on November 17.

The UEFA Nations League should therefore be the first test for new national coach Devis Mangia after the planned friendlies against Gibraltar and Azerbaijan in March and others in June, including one against Portugal, were all called off.