The draw has been made for the first qualifying round of the 2005/06 UEFA Cup in Nyon, Switzerland.
Fifty in the hat
There were 50 clubs in the hat for this round, divided into three geographical seeding groups - Northern, Southern-Mediterranean and Central-East. Among the fixtures to catch the eye, German side 1. FSV Mainz 05's reward for qualifying via UEFA's Fair Play rankings is a tie against FC MIKA of Armenia.
Homework to do
Mainz coach Jürgen Klopp said: "It is obviously hard for us to say just how good MIKA are because we don't really know anything about them at the moment. However, as the season in Armenia is currently running we will get the chance to take a look at them in action."
Fair play route
Norway's Viking FK and Denmark's Esbjerg fB, the two other sides to reach the competition through the Fair Play route, will face Portadown FC of Northern Ireland and FC Flora of Estonia respectively.
The 25 winners of these matches, to be played over two legs on 14 and 28 July, will progress to the second qualifying round where they will be joined by a further 37 sides including former European Champion Clubs' Cup winners FK Crvena Zvezda. This draw will be made in Nyon on 29 July.
The 31 survivors of the second qualifying round will advance to the first round proper, where 49 other clubs will lie in wait, including holders PFC CSKA Moskva and the 16 teams eliminated in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League. The first-round winners will participate in the UEFA Cup group stage. The final of the 2005/06 edition will be held on 10 May next year in Eindhoven.
In presenting the draw, Giorgio Marchetti, UEFA's director of professional football, spoke about the success of the 2004/05 tournament when, for the first time, the UEFA Cup featured a group stage after the first round and continued with a knockout format from the last 32 onwards. He said: "The results have been impressive, with increased fan and media interest, and further recognition of the UEFA Cup as UEFA's second-most important club competition, after the Champions League."
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