Date: 14th July 2010 at 4:19pm
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There seems to be a bit of confusion about the timing of our entry into the Europa league.

This Friday is the draw for the 3rd qualifying round which, if my calculations are correct, is the round that Liverpool will enter.

The access list still has to be ratified by UEFA but Villa and Man City should enter directly into the play off round which is drawn on 6th August and will be streamed on the UEFA website.

Matches to be played on 19th and 26th August. With home and away legs dependant on the luck of the draw.

The only teams going straight into the group stage will be the teams that lose their Champions league play off round plus the cup holders (Atletico Madrid). Therefore the play off round will consist of the teams that have won through from qualifying round 3, 15 teams that lose their Champions league 3rd round of qualifying, and every team that qualified for the Europa league.

So there will be some very difficult teams in there with us. England are number 1 in the national coefficient list, so we should have a decent seeding even though quite a few other individual teams will have a higher coefficient than us.

Here’s hoping we don’t have another Rapid Vienna, or it will be another season to ‘concentrate on the league’.

Anyway, if we can navigate the minefield of the play offs, the group stages are drawn on 27th August with matches played on 16/9, 30/9, 21/10, 4/11 and either the 1st or the 2nd of December. Hopefully throwing up a couple of interesting ties, and a long distance trip for Meyouldy’s fun bus.