Dundalk face difficult trip in Champions League qualifier

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Dundalk have been drawn away to Slovenian champions  NK Celje in the first qualifying round of the Champions League – though the tie may take place at a neutral venue.

Because Slovenia is not on the Government’s ‘green list’ of countries where travel is allowed without restrictions, the tie could take place in Italy, Hungary, Greece or perhaps Hungary. The Slovenian can nominate a neutral venue in a country where Irish citizens can travel freely without Covid-19 restrictions.

First-round ties, slated for the week of August 18-19, are taking place over one leg,  due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Premier Division champions will receive a travel grant from UEFA to help cover the cost of chartering a plane. There will also be the cost of hiring the venue which is split between both clubs. Together with Maribor, Celje are the only club that have participated in every season of the Slovenian PrvaLiga since its formation in 1991.

Meanwhile, Celtic will play at home to Icelandic club KR Reykjavik.  Northern Ireland champions Linfield will face an away trip to Legia Warsaw should get past Kosova’s Drita on Tuesday.

UEFA will draw the second qualifying round Monday, with those matches scheduled to be played on August 25/26.

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