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Some of Eur questions answered

Less than a week-and-a-half has passed since the curtain came down on Cliftonville’s season but, having secured automatic European qualification, it’s only natural that supporters’ minds are already wandering to next month’s UEFA Conference League second qualifying round draw.

For some, the occasion will represent a first opportunity to follow the Reds on the continent, while others are looking forward to renewing a familar routine of planes, trains and automobiles to get behind their team. All of them, though, have one simple question on their minds – where could the draw take us?

Cliftonville’s opponents will be determined on Wednesday, June 19 ahead of first and second leg ties being played on July 25 and August 1, respectively, and you can keep track of all potential opponents thanks to the return of our dedicated European Guide here on

The web’s most comprehensive look at all the permutations in play, be sure to maintain a daily check of the page as various Leagues and Cups across the continent draw to a conclusion over the course of the next month.

As things stand, however, there is precious little clarity. In fact, only five of 44 possible opponents have been confirmed and, given that the second qualifying round will include teams who have won through from the first phase as well as sides dropping out of the Europa League, it could be quite some time before Jim Magilton’s men have a definitive answer – indeed, the potential exists for Cliftonville not to know who we face until seven days before the first leg.

Our European Guide will reflect all the latest confirmed developments in Leagues and Cup competitions across the UEFA spectrum, but those of you not overly enamoured with the various permutations at play and who would prefer a more straightforward explanation may find some of the answers you need below.

Which teams are already confirmed as potential second qualifying round opponents?
Astana (Kazakhstan), Djurgarden (Sweden), Omonia (Cyprus), Riga (Latvia) and Vitoria de Guimaraes (Portugal) are the only five teams currently guaranteed to have Seeded status come the draw, with a further 39 spots still up for grabs – although one of these will be filled by the winners of the first qualifying round tie involving Lithuanian side Zalgiris.

Are there any teams Cliftonville cannot face in the second qualifying round?
Again, there are just five sides we know we will not be paired with – Ilves (Finland), Progres Niederkorn (Luxembourg), Puskas Akademia (Hungary), St Patrick’s Athletic (Ireland) and TransINVEST (Lithuania). The winners of the first qualifying round ties featuring Crusaders and Linfield will also be added to this list prior to the draw.

Will Cliftonville’s opponents definitely be confirmed on the day of the draw?
Not necessarily. Cliftonville could be forced to wait until as late as a week before the first leg before our opponents are known. This will be the case if we are paired with the winners of a first qualifying round tie or a team that drops out of the Europa League.

Are the dates for the first and second legs set in stone?
No. All aspects of second qualifying round matches are subject to change. The potential exists for Belfast to have three teams participating in the second qualifying round and, alongside any requirement to avoid fixture conflicts in the city, UEFA will also be mindful of similar clashes occurring in the home cities of our opponents (or the opponents of Crusaders and Linfield), meaning that the order of home and away legs could be reversed and that matches may be switched to new dates entirely, with the same principles also applying with regards live broadcast or streaming agreements.

Could Cliftonville be drawn against a team we have faced in Europe before?
Yes. Though Cliftonville have never faced the same opposition in two different European campaigns, the vast nature of potential opponents at this stage opens up the possibility of this statistic changing.