With the Olympics about to start European Aquatics Federation LEN on Friday unveiled the draw for the qualification phase of the upcoming Champions League edition. Four groups, played in the weekend of September 30, will determine the 8 teams that will qualify for the second round, to be contested between October 14-16. In the opening round some well-known names such as Turkish runner-up Galatasaray, Croatian Euro Cup semifinalists Mornar, Romanian champs Oradea, and even powerhouses like OSC, Waspo 98 Hannover, Jadran Herceg Novi and BPM Sport Management will start their qualification route which should end with making it to the preliminary stage.
Also unveiled was that the teams receiving a wild card for a guaranteed participation of the preliminary phase for the next 3 years have changed a bit. In Italy Pro Recco took the one which initially got awarded to AN Brescia who withdrew in their final year which therefore saw Pro Recco directly qualified, while France’s Olympic Nice got awarded the precious guarantee of quality games and income without having to qualify. The other powerhouses Jug, Spandau, current runner-up Olympiacos, Szolnok, Partizan and Barceloneta were used to this situation.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE MEN
Qualification Round I to be played between 30th September and 2nd October 2016
Group A to be played in Oradea (ROU) – VK Mornar SPLIT (CRO) – Galatasaray SK ISTANBUL (TUR) – CSM Digi ORADEA (ROU) – UZSC UTRECHT (NED)
Group B to be played in Budapest (HUN) – OSC BUDAPEST (HUN) Waspo 98 HANNOVER 1898 (GER) ZPB BARENDRECHT (NED)
Group C to be played in Valletta (MLT) – PVK Jadran HERCEG NOVI (MNE) – Steaua BUCHAREST (ROU) – VALLETTA (MLT) – KS Arkonia SZCZECIN (POL)
Group D to be played in Porto (POR) – BPM Sport Management VERONA (ITA) – ENKA Sport Club (TUR) – Sintez KAZAN (RUS) – Clube Fluvial PORTUENSE (POR)
The first two (2) classified teams from each group of the Qualification Round I will be qualified to the Qualification Round II. According to the Champions League regulation, the eight teams having the wild card will enter the competition directly from the Preliminary Round stage.
These are: Jug CO DUBROVNIK (CRO) – Wasserfreunde Spandau 04 BERLIN (GER) – Olympiacos PIRAEUS (GRE) – Olympic NICE Natation (FRA) – SZOLNOKI VK (HUN) – Pro RECCO (ITA) – Vaterpolo Klub Partizan BELGRADE (SRB) – Club Natacio Atletic-BARCELONETA (ESP)
As per LEN regulation the best ranked teams of the 8 Federations having a wild card are directly qualified for the Champions League Qualification Round II to be played on 14th – 16th October.
According to the entries received the teams are: VK Primorje Erste Bank RIJEKA (CRO) – ASC DUISBURG (GER) – VOULIAGMENI NC (GRE) – CN MARSEILLE (FRA) ZF – EGER (HUN) – AN BRESCIA (ITA) – Crvena zvezda BELGRADE (SRB) – CN SABADELL (ESP)