Wolves and Rangers have learned their potential opponents in the Europa League third qualifying round.

Wolves qualified for continental competition for the first time since 1980 by finishing seventh in the Premier League and will take on either Pyunik or Jablonec if they get through a tie against Crusaders.

Should Rangers overcome Progres Niederkorn, their reward will be a meeting with Danish outfit Midtjylland.

Eintracht Frankfurt, semi-finalists in 2018-19, face Flora Tallinn in the second qualifying round and if they triumph can look forward to a meeting with either Fehervar or Vaduz.

Aberdeen will take on Rijeka if they defeat Chikhura Sachkere, while the victor of Torino's tie against Debrecen was pitted against Shakhtyor Soligorsk or Esbjerg.

Fenerbahce have avoided a ban from UEFA competitions despite breaching their Financial Fair Play (FFP) agreement in 2018-19.

UEFA's Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) announced in May that Fenerbahce faced sanctions after failing to meet their break-even target.

However, with those punishments confirmed on Friday, the Turkish club will not be suspended from European action.

Instead, their revenues from UEFA competitions will be withheld up to €2million. The club will also have a restriction on registering new players in the absence of a positive transfer balance, and more than 23 players for such tournaments in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons.

The withholding of revenues will be limited to €1m if Fenerbahce prove they have restructured their debt and implemented new national financial monitoring by October 15.

Fenerbahce failed to qualify for Europe for the coming campaign, finishing sixth in the Turkish Super Lig in 2018-19 despite a strong finish to the season.

The Super Lig giants have signed Max Kruse since the end of last season but insisted a deal for Mesut Ozil would prove too expensive.

Alfredo Morelos scored a hat-trick as Rangers completed an emphatic 10-0 aggregate triumph over St Joseph's with a 6-0 victory at Ibrox.

Having won 4-0 in the reverse fixture in Gibraltar, Rangers' progression into the next round was all but secured going into Thursday's clash.

And they finished off the tie in style as Morelos helped illustrate the gulf in class with a treble that followed Joe Aribo's third-minute opener.

Jermain Defoe added a brace and Rangers will next face Luxembourg's Progres Niederkorn, who humiliatingly dumped them out in the first round of qualifying two years ago.

Aribo cleverly tucked home from a tight angle to break the deadlock before Jake Hastie had a goal ruled out for offside in the build-up.

Hastie then fired narrowly wide after good work down the left from Morelos, who made it 2-0 in first-half stoppage time when he nodded home after a corner was flicked into his path.

Morelos converted from the penalty spot 10 minutes after the restart when Greg Docherty was brought down and went on to complete his hat-trick with a back-heeled flick.

Defoe had the final say with a late double off the bench as Rangers reached double figures in a one-sided tie.

The substitute slotted home Matt Polster's right-wing cross to make it 5-0 and then applied further gloss to the scoreline when he was slipped through to slide the ball under goalkeeper Jamie Robba.

Sheyi Ojo marked his competitive debut for Rangers with a goal as they claimed a resounding 4-0 first-leg win over St Joseph's in the Europa League first qualifying round.

Rangers took time to get going in Tuesday's match at the Victoria Stadium, with all four of their goals against the Gibraltarian minnows coming in the second half.

Liverpool loanee Ojo curled the ball into the far corner six minutes after Ryan Jack opened the scoring, before Connor Goldson added a third from close range in the 68th minute.

A late fourth goal was provided by substitute Alfredo Morelos as Steven Gerrard's side took complete control of the tie ahead of the return match at Ibrox on Thursday 18.

Gerrard's men eased to a 5-0 win in their friendly with Oxford United on Sunday but they struggled to get going in a first half devoid of any real action against St Joseph's.

But it took just five minutes of the second half for Rangers to create their first chance of the match and Jack made the most of it by sending his side-footed volley past Francisco Mateo Vera.

Ojo's debut strike followed soon after as he picked his spot from 15 yards to cap an impressive first competitive outing for his new club.

St Joseph's struggled to maintain their tempo and Goldson killed off the game when tapping in from close range after Borna Barisic's free-kick was scooped off the line by Mateo Vera.

Morelos rounded off the scoring with 13 minutes remaining, bundling over after seeing his initial effort – which may have crossed the line – pushed out by Mateo Vera and Goldson's follow-up from inside the six-yard box rattle the crossbar.

Rangers will face Gibraltarian side St Joseph's in the first qualifying round of the Europa League.

St Joseph's beat nine-man Prishtina 2-0 in Tuesday's second leg to progress through the preliminary rounds with a 3-1 win on aggregate.

But Rangers do not know when the first leg of their qualifier will take place as St Joseph's local rivals Europa may also advance, with their match against Sant Julia not taking place until Thursday.

Only one stadium is able to host UEFA-approved fixtures in Gibraltar, so Steven Gerrard's side must wait another couple of days before they can finalise travel plans for their first competitive match of the 2019-2020 campaign.

The second leg will take place at Ibrox on July 18.

AC Milan have vowed to use their Europa League ban as a "stimulus" to achieve greater Financial Fair Play (FFP) accountability.

On Friday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ratified an agreement reached between Milan and UEFA relating to the club's previous breaches of FFP regulations.

The deal prohibits the Serie A side from competing in European competitions next season in exchange for further time to balance the books and the avoidance of a potentially longer suspension.

Milan issued a statement distancing themselves from the "substantial accumulated losses" incurred by former owner Li Yonghong while promising improved financial compliance under Elliott Management Corporation, an American hedge fund which took control in July 2018.

It read: "Whilst saddened by the fact that our fans will not be able to see their team compete in European competition next season, the club recognises and respects FFP.

"The club acknowledges it has no other choice but to accept the sanctions, as it seeks to forge a pathway back to full compliance.

"AC Milan remain committed to restoring the club to its rightful place at the top of European football.

"Today's ruling will act as a stimulus to maximise the efforts to become fully compliant with FFP, while at the same time consolidating the competitiveness of the club, and returning AC Milan to sustainability and a more positive future."

The ban leaves new head coach Marco Giampaolo to focus squarely on guiding Milan back into the top four in Serie A.

The former Sampdoria boss will work under Paolo Maldini and Zvonimir Boban, who took over as technical director and chief football officer respectively earlier this month.

Ivan Gazidis arrived from Arsenal to become chief executive last December.

AC Milan will not play in the 2019/20 Europa League after breaching Financial Fair Play rules, the Court of Arbitration for Sport has announced.

The decision has been taken with the Italian club aiming to balance their books before competing in European competition again.

CAS issued a statement confirming they have accepted an agreement between the two parties due to Milan's previous breaches of FFP regulations.

A ruling by UEFA's Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) in December 2018 stated the Serie A giants would be excluded from participating in European club competitions if they breached the rules again before June 2021.

If they were unable to be break-even compliant, Milan would have been excluded for the next UEFA club competition they qualified for in either the 2022-23 or 2023-24 seasons.

Milan’s absence means Roma, who finished a place behind the Rossoneri in the Serie A table, will enter the group stage draw for the Europa League, while Torino go into the qualification play-offs.

UEFA handed Milan a two-year suspension in 2018, only for the club to successfully appeal against the decision to CAS. However, they were referred again to the governing body’s CFCB earlier this year, raising the prospect of an increased punishment.

In accepting they will not compete in the next Europa League campaign, Milan have further time to balance the books under chief executive Ivan Gazidis, who arrived last December.

The seven-time European champions have also appointed former players Paolo Maldini and Zvonimir Boban as technical director and chief football officer respectively since the end of the 2018-19 campaign.

Marco Giampaolo, meanwhile, was named their new head coach on June 19, arriving from Sampdoria to fill the void created by Gennaro Gattuso's departure.

AC Milan will not play in the 2019/20 Europa League after breaching financial fair play rules, the Court of Arbitration for Sport has announced.

 

Roma have cancelled their pre-season training camp in Pinzolo due to uncertainty over the date of their first competitive fixture of the 2019-2020 campaign.

The Giallorossi finished sixth in Serie A last season and were scheduled to participate in the Europa League second qualifying round at the end of July.

But amid suggestions that fifth-place finishers AC Milan are planning to withdraw from the competition because of financial issues, potentially giving Roma a bye to the group stage, Paulo Fonseca's side have taken the decision to scrap their trip to the Italian Alps later this week.

"First and foremost, we want to sincerely apologise to those Roma fans who have already made plans to follow us throughout the training camp, and all the people of Pinzolo," chief executive Guido Fienga said in a statement published on the club's official website.

"This was not an easy decision to take but following discussions with the coach and the football department, it has been decided to postpone the start of pre-season preparations to ensure our players are in the best possible shape for the first game of the new campaign.

"We understand the inconvenience this will cause fans who had booked travel and accommodation in Pinzolo to attend the training camp and we are looking into what we can to do alleviate the disappointment this late cancellation has caused."

Roma have been busy restructuring their coaching and backroom staff during the close-season, with a new head coach and sporting director appointed over the past fortnight.

Celtic will take on Nomme Kalju or Shkendija in the second round of Champions League qualifying should they first overcome FK Sarajevo.

Tuesday's first qualifying round draw pitted Celtic with Bosnian side Sarajevo, with the first leg taking place on July 9 or 10 and the return leg - switched to Celtic Park - to follow a week later.

And should Neil Lennon's side prevail, they will face either Nomme Kalju or Shkendija - the reigning champions of Estonia and Macedonia, respectively.

In the league path of Champions League qualification, Viktoria Plzen will tussle with Olympiacos and PSV are to face Basel.

Meanwhile, Rangers' possible reward for beating Kosovan side Prishtina or St Joseph's of Gibraltar in the Europa League first qualifying round could potentially be an all-British tie.

Cork City and Cardiff Met University are both possible opponents, as are Progres Niederkorn of Luxembourg, who beat Rangers in 2017.

Eintracht Frankfurt, semi-finalists last season, face a double-header against Radnicki Nis or Flora Tallinn, and Roma will start their European campaign against Debrecen or Kukesi.

Aberdeen will take on Finnish side RoPS before facing either Fola Esch of Luxembourg or Chikhura Sachkhere of Georgia, while fellow Scottish side Kilmarnock go up against Connah's Quay Nomads in the first round and will then face a tricky tie against Partizan Belgrade if they progress.

Premier League team Wolves also discovered their Europa League fate on Wednesday. They will take on the winners Northern Irish side Crusaders and Faroese minnows B36 Torshavn.

All second-round qualifying games in the Europa League ties will be played between July 23 and August 1, while the Champions League ties will be on July 23/24 and a week later.

Celtic were drawn against Sarajevo in the Champions League first qualifying round, while Rangers learnt their Europa League fate.

While Celtic completed a third straight domestic treble in 2018-19, they failed to reach the group stage of Europe's elite club competition after falling to AEK Athens in the third qualifying round.

Neil Lennon's team will begin their quest to return to the Champions League with a home match against Sarajevo on July 9 or 10, with the return game in Bosnia-Herzegovina taking place the following week.

"The biggest mistake you can make is underestimating a team like this. It's the Champions League so anything can happen. You just have to do your research and do as well as you can," said the club's on-loan attacker Daniel Arzani.

"I think we have the quality to go all the way. We just have to stick our heads down and get the job done."

Rangers will take on either Kosovan side Prishtina or St Joseph's of Gibraltar in the Europa League first qualifying round on July 11. The second leg will take place at Ibrox the following week.

Kilmarnock were pitted against Connah's Quay Nomads of Wales and Aberdeen drew Finnish side RoPS.

Maurizio Sarri has left Chelsea for Juventus after just one year in the Premier League and it is fair to say it was a turbulent spell.

With the fiery Italian in charge, things were never likely to be dull at Chelsea in the 2018-19 season.

Sarri will undoubtedly consider himself to have been a success given what he achieved and the constraints he was under in the transfer market, but there are plenty of fans who will not be upset to see the back of him.

As Sarri prepares to return to Italy, we look at the triumphant highs and disappointing lows of his solitary season in English football.

HIGHS

Europa League success

Given the infamy of the Europa League final in Baku from a logistical perspective, Chelsea's performance and emphatic 4-1 win over Arsenal were effectively a sideshow. But, if one ignores the ticketing farce, location and security concerns preventing Henrikh Mkhitaryan playing, Sarri came out of it very well by masterminding a fine display to win his first major trophy as a coach.

Top-three Premier League finish

Sarri inherited a squad with plenty of issues. Several players were approaching 30 or already there, the midfield options were lacking and his main striker was enduring a difficult run. Chelsea's recruitment in the last couple of years has left a lot of be desired, yet Sarri still managed to ensure the Blues secured a respectable third-place finish and Champions League qualification.

Ending City's unbeaten start

Manchester City did not lose any of their first 15 Premier League games in 2018-19, form that sparked talk of Pep Guardiola's team going the entire season unbeaten. Chelsea ended such suggestions in December, beating City 2-0 at Stamford Bridge thanks to goals from N'Golo Kante and David Luiz, evidence that Sarri had the Blues mixing it with the best of them at times.

 

LOWS

Crushed by City

Things started to get ugly for Chelsea and Sarri after the turn of the year. He looked to be heading for the exit at the start of February when Chelsea were demolished 6-0 away to City. Raheem Sterling, Ilkay Gundogan and a Sergio Aguero brace had the hosts 4-0 up after 25 minutes and a recovery never arrived. It was third successive away league defeat, following a similarly embarrassing 4-0 defeat to Bournemouth and a 2-0 loss at Arsenal.

"F*** Sarri-ball"

With the Blues having suffered those heavy defeats not long before, they lost 2-0 at home to Manchester United in the FA Cup on February 18. The much-lauded style of play brought to the club by Sarri became the target, as fans chanted "F*** Sarri-ball" during the match. It was surely a sign that the 60-year-old's days were numbered.

Kepa challenges authority

Chelsea's run to the EFL Cup final arguably helped keep Sarri in the job and their performance against City was certainly more spirited than the drubbing they received from them just two weeks earlier. However, the match was marred by Kepa Arrizabalaga refusing to be substituted in extra time after appearing to sustain an injury. Sarri played it down after losing on penalties, stating it all came from his misunderstanding of the situation. However, it became the focus at Chelsea for several weeks, particularly given the coach's initial explosive reaction on the touchline.

The popularity of English clubs across Europe is being damaged by complaints over the decision to hold the Europa League final in Azerbaijan, according to UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.

The governing body was widely criticised for its choice to host the final in Baku, which saw Chelsea beat Premier League rivals Arsenal 4-1.

Ticketing and travel issues prevented many supporters from attending the game, with the showpiece final ultimately played out in front of a sparsely populated Baku Olympic Stadium.

UEFA was also criticised for its handling of Henrikh Mkhitaryan's security concerns, with the Arsenal forward deciding not to travel because of the tension between Azerbaijan and his country of Armenia.

Ceferin has responded in robust fashion to the English sides' complaints and says Azerbaijani supporters would have had no issues travelling to London had the situation been reversed.

In a talk at Oxford University, he said: "Whenever we have English clubs, we have complaints. You don't help yourself in the popularity within European football with that.

"If somebody asks me why we played in Baku, I would say: people live there, homo sapiens live there. If we have two Azerbaijani teams playing in London nobody would complain. They would come and play without any problems.

"We decided a year and a half ago that we play in Baku which has a modern stadium of 70,000. I think there is only one stadium in England that is bigger.

"They had to watch the game at 11pm because of the time difference but nobody complained."

Ceferin, who was re-elected unopposed in January to begin a new four-year presidency, reiterated his desire to grow football outside of the dominant European nations.

"We have to develop football everywhere not England, Germany only," he added.

Eden Hazard's typically brilliant display in Chelsea's 4-1 Europa League final win against Arsenal last week proved to be his last game for the club.

The Belgian forward suggested after the match in Baku he wanted to start a new adventure elsewhere and Real Madrid confirmed on Friday, nine days on from those comments, that an agreement, which is subject to him passing a medical, had been reached with the Blues.

During his seven years at Stamford Bridge, Hazard transformed from a promising talent signed from Lille to one of the Premier League's all-time greats.

Here, we look back at some of the goals that defined the 28-year-old's time at Chelsea and tempted Madrid into paying a reported initial fee of €100millon for his services.

 

Stoke City 0 Chelsea 4 – January 12, 2013

Chelsea were already leading 3-0 when Hazard received the ball in a central area 40 yards from goal. He made light work of turning inside Glenn Whelan, who appeared to be running on rails, and then unleashed a fierce left-footed effort that swerved beyond Asmir Begovic and into the top-left corner.

Chelsea 2 Tottenham 2 – May 2, 2016

There was little for Chelsea fans to cheer in a dismal 2015-16 season that saw them suffer a dramatic fall from grace after clinching the Premier League title in the previous campaign. However, half-time substitute Hazard sent them into raptures when he finished a move he initiated inside his own half by curling a first-time finish into the top-right corner, ending rivals Tottenham's challenge to unlikely champions Leicester City.

Chelsea 3 Arsenal 1 – February 4, 2017

Pouncing on a loose ball in the centre circle, Hazard shuffled past Laurent Koscielny and sent Francis Coquelin spinning as he headed diagonally towards the touchline. Free of the terrier-like Coquelin, the Belgian angled his run towards the box, turned Koscielny inside out and got his shot away before Shkodran Mustafi could get a block in. The victory sent eventual champions Chelsea nine points clear at the top of the Premier League and opened up a 12-point cushion to the third-placed Gunners.

Liverpool 1 Chelsea 2 – September 26, 2018

Hazard looked destined to lose the ball when he shifted away from Jordan Henderson and towards Fabinho, who he turned away from and into Roberto Firmino. However, he slipped a pass to Cesar Azpilicueta between Firmino's legs and followed it out to the right wing. His change of pace and shielding of the ball enabled him to get around Naby Keita and into the box, where he switched direction by nutmegging Alberto Moreno before rifling a stunning finish across Simon Mignolet to seal a late win in the third round of the EFL Cup.

Chelsea 2 West Ham 0 – April 8, 2019

One thing you cannot afford Hazard is space to run into, and West Ham did exactly that in this Premier League encounter at Stamford Bridge. He breezed past Mark Noble and proved too quick for the recovering Declan Rice as he surged towards the box. Two sensational, rapid touches saw him evade the challenge of Fabian Balbuena and leave the Paraguayan's centre-back partner Angelo Ogbonna rooted to the spot. Hazard followed it up by stabbing into the bottom-right corner from 12 yards for another sensational solo goal as Ryan Fredericks lunged in from the left.

Chelsea 4 Arsenal 1 – May 29, 2019

While it may not have been a 30-yard screamer or a stunning solo effort, his final Chelsea goal was well-worked and deserves inclusion for its significance in delivering a European trophy. The winger seized upon a loose ball, darted forward and fed Olivier Giroud into the left side of the box. He continued his run and received the Frenchman's chipped pass, sweeping home with aplomb and signing off in style.

 

UEFA's strongest sides must consider reforms to the Champions League to help address the imbalances with the current system, according to the European Clubs Association (ECA).

The ECA, spearheaded by Juventus president Andrea Agnelli, is pushing to revamp the structure of continental club competitions, with proposed changes reportedly including promotion and relegation.

Preliminary discussions with UEFA have taken place but the ECA's attempted overhaul has been met with considerable opposition.

LaLiga and the Premier League have made clear their disapproval at the plan, while the European Leagues - a representative body - claim only a "few rich and dominant clubs" would see the benefits.

However, ECA vice-chairman Aki Riihilahti disputed that view.

"The current system doesn't work for most sides, and if we want to keep professional and grassroots football alive, we have to take into consideration the different local situations, whilst at the same time developing it at higher levels," said Riihilahti.

"Playing in more relevant competitions would help the growth of minor leagues."

Chairman Agnelli insisted that changes are a long way from coming to fruition, yet he claimed to have "swept away the concerns" of some clubs who attended a two-day summit in Malta.

"There are several problems for which we must find a solution and to do so we must put ourselves in the shoes of others and have an overall vision of European football," Agnelli said.

"We are at the beginning of a long process, but what matters is that the clubs have shown a willingness to engage positively and with intellectual honesty, in order to address the reform of European football in the best way.

"In September, in Nyon, we will share our points of view and many things will still need to be discussed, but we are open to a transparent conversation and we want the satisfaction of all European football, not just some clubs."

Former Manchester United goalkeeper and Ajax CEO Edwin van der Sar added: "Not everyone was born in Manchester or London.

"We must also find a way for those who come from leagues, such as Poland, Portugal, Greece, Turkey and Holland to grow at a European level."

Page 1 of 30
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.