UEFA Link – Clubs teams passport to Europe

Monday, January 25, 2010, 15:21

 The Malta FA’s membership with UEFA and FIFA 50 years ago meant that our association obtained a passport for the national team, and eventually other representative teams, to participate in European and FIFA competitions. Club teams also entered the fray.
Apart from friendly international matches played, the first being that against Austria on 24th February 1957, the first competitive match Malta took part in was against Denmark away on the 28th June 1962, an encounter valid for the European Championship.  That opened the door for over 300 matches for our National Team.
However, the subject of this particular text is being limited to mark the MFA’s membership with UEFA and the Maltese club teams’ participation in European competitions. 

UEFA links Clubs to Europe

UEFA links Clubs to Europe

Hibernians were the first to make their bow in the European Cup of Champions in season 1961-62 with a match against Servette of Switzerland. In the same season Floriana made their debut when they played Ujpest Dosza of Hungary. Hibernians were again the first Maltese team to play in the UEFA Cup in 1968-69 against Aris Salonika of Greece. Floriana opened the account in the Intertoto Cup in 1994-95 when they met Tirol Innsbruck of Austria. Birkirkara and Valletta started off the Maltese trail in the Europa League early this season. As for the Women’s club competitions it was a first for Birkirkara in the UEFA Champions League.
It was the start of a long trail of matches which saw great teams like, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona, Benfica  and Inter, among others, facing teams from tiny Malta.
Adverse results for our sides were the order of the day in 49 seasons of competition in the European Cup (later the Champions League), 38 in the now defunct Cup Winners Cup, 40 in the UEFA Cup and 11 in the Intertoto Cup, now both changed to Europa League.
Our teams managed to survive the first or preliminary rounds on 11 occasions in these competitions, five in the European Cup, three in the Cup Winners Cup, twice in the UEFA Cup and once in the Intertoto Cup.  Sliema Wanderers have the best record when qualifying for the next round four times. They are followed by Hibernians and Floriana, who each qualified twice, while Hamrun, Birkirkara and Valletta, have one qualification to a subsequent stage.
All in all, it has been an endearing experience for our teams and also an opportunity for the Maltese to witness some of the best European club outfits in our midst. This courtesy of our admission in the international fold 50 years ago.

1 Comment

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