Newcastle United are looking to sign players from across Europe this summer and with the club back in Europe once again, it is vital new players can play in the Europa League campaign.
FC Twente’s star striker Luuk De Jong will play for the Dutch side in Europa League qualifiers. Twente drew UE Santa Coloma from Andorra in the first qualifying round draw today (Games to be played 5 and 12 July 2012). Mathieu Debuchy will play in the play-off round of UEFA Champions League qualification (Games to be played 21 and 28 August) after Lille finished 3rd in Ligue 1 last season.
So, how do rules in relation to being cup-tied work in Europe? It’s all fairly simple.
The key rule in UEFA books is 18.07. It states:
As a rule, a player may not play in a UEFA club competition (i.e. UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, but not UEFA Super Cup) for more than one club in the course of the same season. Exceptionally, however, a player who has been fielded in the first, second or third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League is entitled to play in the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League for another club as from the group stage, provided that his former club did not qualify for the group stage of either the UEFA Champions League or the UEFA Europa League.
In other words, if NUFC sign Debuchy and/or De Jong after they’ve played in a qualifier for their respective clubs, then the only way they’ll be able to don the Black and White stripes for NUFC in Europe is if Twente/Lille are not participating in the same competition from group stages and beyond. As long as a player’s former side were eliminated before the group stages, and the player was then registered to play in the groups of either competition for his new club, he is free to continue playing in the knockout rounds too.
In UEFA rules, it doesn’t matter if the player played for previous club in Champions League or the Europa League. Both European competitions are treated as one when it comes to being cup-tied. For Newcastle, it’s probably best to sign Luuk de Jong up before he plays for Twente on 5th July or else he won’t be able to play in Europe for Newcastle (unless Twente fail to make the group stages). Similarly, the play-off tie Debuchy will be involved in is before NUFC’s game and hopefully NUFC will sign him before then.
Newcastle themselves will play in a single two-legged Europa League play off tie. The draw is on 10th August. The first leg is on 22/23 August with the return leg on 29/30 August.
Any questions, clarification of corrections are welcome through the comment box below or @nufcfans.