FC Vaduz is a Liechtenstein football team that has competed in European competitions for a long time. Despite being a small club from a small country, they have consistently qualified for European competitions. While in the past this may not have looked to peculiar, in recent seasons FC Vaduz have been relegated to the Swiss Challenge League. Yet, for some reason, they still compete in European competitions.
In the following article, we will look at how FC Vaduz reaches Europe on an annual basis.
FC Vaduz Pay to Play in the Swiss Divisions
Vaduz, like the rest of the Liechtenstein teams, is classified as a “guest club” in the Swiss league system. As a result, Vaduz cannot compete in the Swiss Cup and cannot represent Switzerland internationally. As a result, Vaduz’s only options for qualifying for the UCL through league football are to win the EL or the UCL itself. Despite the difficulties and constraints, Vaduz continues to play in the Swiss league system, exhibiting their footballing talent and representing Liechtenstein on the European scene.
Vaduz is required to pay an admission fee to the Swiss Football Association each season as a foreign club participating in the Swiss league system. This costs around £150,000 every year. Interestingly, if Vaduz were to finish 1st in the Swiss Super League, they would not be crowned Swiss champions because they are “guests” in the Swiss league system.
The Liechtenstein Football Cup
The Liechtenstein Football Association (LFV) has held the Liechtenstein Football Cup, the nation’s premier football competition, every year since 1946. The cup winner is eligible to compete in the UEFA Europa Conference League. The Liechtenstein Football Cup is the country’s only national football competition because there is no national league. The country contains only seven clubs, all of which have a long history of success in Swiss league competitions. Since none of the teams now compete in the highest Swiss division, the national cup competition is currently the only way for Liechtenstein to be represented in European football club competitions.
FC Vaduz’s Success in the Liechtenstein Football Cup
FC Vaduz has played in 61 Liechtenstein Cup finals, and lost only 13 times. They have won the cup a record 48 times, which is a world record for the most domestic cup titles won by a single club. Their success in the Cup has allowed them to enter the qualification rounds for European competitions on a regular basis.
FC Vaduz are unique in their stature, and with their ability to play in European competitions, they have attracted some talented players over the years. Current Swiss international goalkeeper Yann Sommer spent two seasons at the club on loan at FC Vaduz from Basel.
Qualifying for European Competitions
The winner of the Liechtenstein Football Cup qualifies to take part in the UEFA Europa Conference League. FC Vaduz has won the cup 48 times, meaning they have qualified for European competitions regularly. They have played in Europe in the past, and have managed to progress to the qualifying rounds of the Europa League. In 1996, the club beat Latvian club Universitate Riga in the qualifying round on penalties, after drawing 1-1 on aggregate. They have also played in the Europa League in recent years, and have managed to progress to the second qualifying round on a few occasions.
On August 25, 2022, after defeating Rapid Wien away in Austria, Vaduz made history by being the first Liechtenstein club to qualify for the Europa Conference League group stage. Even though they finished last in their group, they put on a fine show by drawing Dnipro and Apollon Limassol, two teams with far larger budgets than Vaduz.
FC Vaduz’s dominance in the Liechtenstein Football Cup has allowed them to qualify for European competitions on a regular basis. Despite being a small club from a small country, they have competed with some of Europe’s best teams. Their achievement is the result of the club’s members’ hard work and dedication.
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