UEFA to Allow Balkan Clubs to Meet in European Qualifiers

Daniela Rogulj



August 6, 2020 – UEFA will allow Balkan clubs from Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to meet in the Champions League and Europa League qualifiers, with one exception.

Index.hr reports that UEFA has lifted restrictions that clubs from Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot meet in the Champions League and Europa League qualifiers.

However, the rule that clubs from BiH and Serbia cannot play against Kosovo clubs still applies (and the same rule applies to national teams from before).

This practice was introduced in 2007 after the riots in Mostar at the match between Zrinjski and Partizan.

As the upcoming qualifiers of European competitions will be played in a changed format with only one match, and without the presence of spectators in the stands due to the coronavirus pandemic, UEFA has decided on this move.

Hajduk can thus play against Serbian representatives Vojvodina, Partizan and TSC Backa Topol, and Bosnian clubs Zrinjski, Zeljeznicar and Borac from Banja Luka.

Dinamo can draw Crvena Zvezda or Sarajevo in the qualifications for the Champions League, and Osijek can play against Zrinjski or Vojvodina in the qualifications for the Europa League.

This week (Friday and Saturday), the Champions League matches continue, and two matches will be important for the Croatian champion. Dinamo should start the competition in the 2nd qualifying round, but could also skip it if certain teams win in the quarterfinals of this season and qualify for the next edition of the elite European competition through the domestic championship.

This means that Dinamo will cheer for the rivals of Inter and Lyon in the Champions League round of 16 – Juventus and Barcelona. Napoli played 1:1 in the first meeting with Barcelona, and Lyon celebrated against Juventus 1:0. 

It is also important for Dinamo that if Napoli and Lyon do not win the Champions League, Ajax will be placed directly in the groups, and the Croatian champion will certainly be the leader in all qualifying rounds.

In the third round of qualifications for the Champions League, only one game will be played, a draw will decide the host, and Dinamo will be a top seed. Two games will be played in the playoffs, and Dinamo will be among the four top-seeded there (if Ajax goes directly to the group stage) with Red Bull, Olympiakos and Celtic. The third qualifying round draw is scheduled for August 31, 2020. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.


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