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Fresh look as Futsal Cup season begins

Four months after Kairat Almaty lifted the UEFA Futsal Cup, the new season begins with 29 clubs in preliminary round action, including 11 debutants – four of whom are staging groups.

Víkingur Ólafsvík are one of the four debutants staging mini-tournaments
Víkingur Ólafsvík are one of the four debutants staging mini-tournaments ©Víkingur Ólafsvík

Four months after Kairat Almaty took the UEFA Futsal Cup to Kazakhstan, the new season gets under way with 29 clubs in preliminary round action.

While the top four seeds, including Kairat, enter in the elite round in November and 16 others start the previous month in the main round, eight mini-tournaments are taking place all over Europe next week. The three groups of three teams run from Tuesday to Thursday, while the five four-sided sections start on Wednesday and end next Saturday.

In all, 11 clubs are making their European debuts in the preliminary round and two will be staging groups beginning on Tuesday. Víkingur Ólafsvík welcome experienced Athina '90 Athens and FC Anzhi Tallinn to Iceland, while Cardiff is the venue as Welsh champions Wrexham Futsal Club play Asa Ben Gurion and KMF Tango Sarajevo.

Perhaps the strongest group involves two newcomers and begins on Wednesday as ambitious English representatives Baku United FC go to fellow newcomers TS Wisła Kraków. The fourth debutants hosting a mini-tournament are Göteborg Futsal Club, who play MFK VitEn Novolukomi, Eden College Futsal and the only previous entrants in contention, Perth Saltires.

The eight group winners progress to join the 16 teams entering in the main round, played from 1 to 6 October and already drawn. The top two in each main round group will join the four highest-seeded clubs given a bye to the elite round draw on 18 October: Kairat, former winners MFK Dinamo, FC Barcelona and 2011 runners-up Sporting Clube de Portugal.

The four elite round group winners, to be decided between 19 and 24 November, will compete in the final tournament in late April, with the hosts picked from among them.

Preliminary round
Group A (27-29 August): Sporting Clube de Paris (FRA), CSC Lexmax Chisinau (MDA), FK Nautara Kaunas (LTU)*

Group B (28-31 August): TS Wisła Kraków (POL)*, KF Jedinstvo Bilejo Polje (MNE - withdrawn), Baku United FC (ENG), KS Ali Demi (ALB)

Group C (28-31 August): Vegakameratene (NOR), Minerva Futsal Bern (SUI), Stella Rossa Wien (AUT)*, Fırat Üniversitesi Elazığ (TUR)

Group D (27-29 August): Asa Ben Gurion (ISR), KMF Tango Sarajevo (BIH), Wrexham Futsal Club (WAL)*

Group E (28-31 August): KMF Zelezarec Skopje (MKD), FC Grand Pro Varna (BUL)*, FC Shahumyan Yerevan (ARM), FC Encamp (AND)

Group F (28-31 August): VitEn Novolukomi (BLR), Eden College Futsal (IRL), Perth Saltires (SCO), Göteborg Futsal Club (SWE)*

Group G (28-31 August): FS Ilves Tampere (FIN)*, Hamburg Panthers (GER), JB Futsal Gentofte (DEN), Hibernians FC (MLT)

Group H (27-29 August): Athina '90 Athens (GRE), FC Anzhi Tallinn (EST), Víkingur Ólafsvík (ISL)*

Main round draw
Group 1:
Slov-Matic Bratislava (SVK), FK Nikars Riga (LVA)*, Winner Group F, Winner Group G

Group 2:Iberia Star Tbilisi (GEO), ETO FC Győr (HUN)*, Winner Group D, Winner Group E

Group 3:Marca Futsal (ITA), Tulpar Karagandy (KAZ), FC Lokomotiv Kharkiv (UKR)*, Winner Group A

Group 4:FK EP Chrudim (CZE), FC Litija (SVN), AC Omonia Nicosia (CYP)*, Winner Group B

Group 5: KMF Ekonomac Kragyjevac (SRB)*, Club Futsal Eindhoven (NED), MNK Nacional Zagreb (CRO), Winner Group C

Group 6: Araz Naxçivan (AZE), City'US Târgu Mures (ROU)*, Châtelineau Futsal (BEL), Winner Group H