LEN still hasn’t announced the list of the participating clubs in the 2021/22 Champions League, but it’s known that at least two clubs return to the best world’s competition for clubs.
Today, the Water Polo Federation of Serbia announced that national champion KVK Radnicki Kragujevac had got a wild card from LEN and that it would play in the Preliminary Stage without qualifications.
It means that Serbia will have at least two clubs in the Preliminary phase. Novi Beograd, the host of the Final Eight in 2021,2022,2023, also has a wild card. Crvena Zvezda, the 3rd-placed team in the Serbian League, has the right to start from the 2nd Qualification Round.
Earlier, the Romanian website h2opolo published that Romanian champion Steaua Bucharest had received an invitation from LEN to participate in the Champions League. Steaua accepted the wild card.
Steaua played in the Champions League as a wild-card holder twice (seasons 2017/2018 and 2018/19).
KVK Radnicki, the Serbian and the Regional League champion, received the wild card for the first time. Still, a club from Kragujevac, which was a predecessor of today’s KVK Radnicki, already played in the Champions League. VK Radnicki, the winner of the 2013 LEN Euro Cup, qualified for the Champions League twice. It was the runner-up in 2014. VK Radnicki ceased to exist in 2016. After that, KVK Radnicki was founded. In a five-year-long history of the club, KVK Radnicki managed to pass a road from the Serbian fourth league (played during summer) to the national title.
Twelve teams will play in the Champions League as wild-card holders, while four will come from the qualifications.
Last season, LEN reduced the number of wild-card holders and participants due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Wild-card holders in the previous season were: Pro Recco , Ferencvaros, Jug, Olympiacos, Marseille, Jadran HN, Spandau 04, Dinamo Tbilisi, and Waspo Hannover. The latter received a wild card as a host of the final tournament. However, Hannover was forced to cancel the organization because of the strict anti-covid measures in Germany, and the F8 was moved to Belgrade.
The qualifications for the Champions League begin late in September. The preliminary round starts on October 26/27 and ends with the 14th round of June 14/15. The Final Eight is in Belgrade between June 30 and July 2. The season is longer than usual, because the World Championships will be held in May, and the Champions League will be paused between April 9 and June 7.
Full calendar – HERE