The clubs representing Malta in the UEFA club competitions this summer were offered the option to choose whether to play at the Centenary Stadium or the National Stadium. However, everything depends on the draw – whether the team will be drawn to play at home.
UEFA announced last month that the qualifying rounds of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League will be played in single legs rather than the usual home-and-away legs in order to achieve the necessary separation with the final phase of the 2019/20 season and avoid impact on the access list and on clubs potentially involved in both competition phases. The only exception will be that of the UEFA Champions League Play-offs which will remain over two legs. The draw will determine which club will play the single leg in their stadium.
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.
During the Council of the Malta Football Association, it was revealed that the association held talks with the four clubs and offered the possibility to choose whether to play at the Centenary Stadium or the National Stadium, if they are drawn to play at home.
In order to assist them in their preparation, these teams will be given the opportunity to hold a number of training sessions at the Centenary Stadium or the MFA Training Grounds.
The new calendar of the qualifying phase and group stage 2020/21 is as follows:
UEFA Champions League 2020/21
Preliminary round: 8 and 11 August
First qualifying round: 18/19 August
Second qualifying round: 25/26 August
Third qualifying round: 15/16 September
Play-offs: 22/23 and 29/30 September
Group stage: 20/21 and 27/28 October, 3/4 and 24/25 November, 1/2 and 8/9 December
UEFA Europa League 2020/21
Preliminary round: 20 August
First qualifying round: 27 August
Second qualifying round: 17 September
Third qualifying round: 24 September
Play-offs: 1 October
Group stage: 22 and 29 October, 5 and 26 November, 3 and 10 December
There are no changes to the dates of the subsequent rounds.
The key principles of the UEFA medical protocol were also approved, and detailed guidelines will now be finalised over the next few weeks to ensure that a thorough sanitary plan be put in place to protect the health of all participants to UEFA matches when the competitions resume.
UEFA will be regularly assessing the situation across the continent and will liaise with local authorities to see when spectators could gradually return.
Meanwhile UEFA announced that the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, semi-finals and final will be played as a straight knockout tournament in Lisbon, Portugal in August. All these ties will be single-leg fixtures. A decision is pending on whether the four remaining round of 16 second legs will take place at the home team’s stadium or in Portugal.
The quarter-finals, semi-finals and final will be split between Benfica’s Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica and Sporting CP’s Estádio José Alvalade. The Estádio do Dragão in Porto and the Estádio D. Afonso Henriques in Guimarães will host the four outstanding round of 16 second legs if required.
The 2019/20 UEFA Europa League quarter-finals, semi-finals and final will be played as a straight knockout tournament across four cities in Germany in August: Cologne, Duisburg, Düsseldorf and Gelsenkirchen. All these ties will be single-leg fixtures.
A decision is pending on whether the round of 16 second legs will take place at the home team’s stadium or in Germany. The ties where the first leg was also postponed – namely Inter vs Getafe and Sevilla vs Roma – will be played as a single leg at a venue to be confirmed.
The 2020 UEFA Super Cup will be played in Budapest on 24 September.
Bilbao and San Sebastian will be hosting the UEFA Women’s Champions League final eight.