The UEFA Cup final will be held in Istanbul for the first time next season and the road to Turkey begins with the first qualifying round draw on 1 July.
Four years after the Atatürk Olympic Stadium staged Turkey's first major European final with the UEFA Champions League decider between Liverpool FC and AC Milan, the UEFA Cup showpiece will be held on Istanbul's Asian side at Fenerbahçe SK's Þükrü Saraçoglu Stadium on 20 May 2009. But the first qualifying round is on 17 and 31 July, with the draw on the first of the month, and the 74 participants include Fair Play entrants Manchester City FC, Hertha BSC Berlin and FC Nordsjælland.
Twenty-seven sides then begin in the second qualifying round, including the last eleven UEFA Intertoto Cup winners, and the eventual 32 teams successful in those ties will take on 48 first-round entrants, including 16 sides eliminated from the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, for berths in the group stage, which runs from 23 October until 19 December. The top three in all eight groups, plus the third-placed teams in the eight UEFA Champions League pools, then begin the knockout phase. All the dates for the season are below.
2008/09 UEFA Cup draw schedule
01.07.2008, 13.30CET Nyon First qualifying round
2008/09 UEFA Cup match calendar
First qualifying round, 1st leg 17.07.2008
First qualifying round, 2nd leg 31.07.2008