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Celtic could face Linfield as crunch time looms for UEFA´s Red Bull dilemma

19 June 2017 13:22

Celtic may face a heated encounter with Linfield in the second qualifying round of the Champions League, while RB Salzburg could yet force UEFA to exclude sister club RB Leipzig from the tournament.

Brendan Rodgers' Celtic, a club known for strong Catholic affiliations, were drawn against either La Fiorita of San Marino or Northern Ireland's Linfield, a Belfast side with prominent Protestant connections.

A further complication for the clubs, UEFA and local police is the potential date of the first leg, should Linfield progress. The opening matches of each tie are due to be played on July 11 or 12, the latter of which often sees marches conducted by the Ulster Protestant Orange Order.

Having been drawn against Hibernians FC of Malta or Estonia's FCI Tallinn, Salzburg could also cause UEFA a headache. 

The governing body's statutes prevent owners from controlling more than one club per season in its competitions, with the higher ranked side in such a situation being given preference. 

That would mean the Austrian champions could retain a place in the group stage, should they advance that far, at the expense of RB Leipzig, the Bundesliga's surprise runners-up.

UEFA were last month quoted as saying: "All criteria, including matters of ownership, will be verified for each club by UEFA only once we have received the competition entry forms and documentation from the national football associations and clubs, following the end of the season in the respective leagues".

 

Champions League second qualifying round draw in full: 

APOEL v Dudelange 

Zalgiris v Ludogorets Razgrad 

Qarabag v Samtredia 

Partizan v Buducnost Podgorica 

Hibernians/FCI Tallinn v Salzburg 

Sheriff Tiraspol v Kukes 

Astana v Spartaks Jurmala 

BATE Borisov v Alashkert/FC Santa Coloma 

Zilina v Kobenhavn 

Hapoel Beer-Sheva v Honved 

Rijeka v The New Saints/Europa

Malmo v Vardar

Zrinjski v Maribor

Dundalk v Rosenborg

FH Hafnarfjordur v Vikingur/Trepça '89 

Linfield/La Fiorita v Celtic 

IFK Mariehamn v Legia Warszawa 

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