Sparta Belfast, Northern Ireland’s futsal champions, will have to overcome opposition from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Wales if they want to progress to the main UEFA Futsal Champions League round this season.
Sparta have been drawn in a UFCL preliminary round four-team mini tournament (Group H) with Albanian hosts Tirana Futsal, Bosnians KMF Radnik Bijeljina and Welsh outfit Cefn Druids.
Only the winners from the group are guaranteed a place in the main round where they will play against Czech side SK Plzen, JB Futsal Gentofte from Denmark and the winners of preliminary round A in Group 6.
Alternatively, if they finish as best runners-up in the preliminary round they would take their place in Group 5 alongside Croatians Futsal Dinamo and the winners of groups B and C.
Up for grabs in the main round is a place in the 16-team elite round this November and December, from which four contenders will go forward to knockout finals next May.
Sparta’s UFCL campaign will get under way in the preliminary round from 22 to 27 August, while the main qualifying round is scheduled to be played from 24-29 October.
Sparta Belfast were crowned Northern Ireland Futsal Federation Super League winners back in January. They subsequently booked a place in the UEFA Futsal Champions League by winning the NIFF Super League Play-Offs, defeating Belfast Celtic 4-3 in the final.
And then they completed a treble by securing the NIFF Cup with an 8-5 win over Rosario in the decider back in May.
Image: Sparta Belfast players celebrate their NIFF Super League Play-Off success which secured a place in the preliminary round of the 2023-24 UEFA Futsal Champions League competition.