MFK Košice

MFK Košice is a Slovakian football club which famously became the first Slovak club to reach the lucrative UEFA Champions League Group Stages when they did so in the 1997-1998 season. Also during this Champions League campaign, MFK Košice, became the first club in the Champions League history to record a no points total in the group stage, losing 3 of their home matches and 3 of their away games.

The twice Slovak football champions (1997, 1998) were relegated from the premier division in 2003 after the proposed sale of the club to Italian owners in 2001 by the former owner and late VSZ steelmaking tycoon Alexander Rezes fell through. Although Rezes' dream to turn 1. FC Kosice into a top European club never came true, he managed to lift an average second division team to the first group stage of the UEFA Champions' League in 1997/98. However, the next year's failure to make the same stage of the major European competition, and failure to defend the league title, combined with the change of government which undermined the position of the Rezes clan (Alexander Rezes was economy minister of Vladimir Meciar's government in 1994-97) represented the beginning of the end of the "millionaires". Their home stadium was the Vsesportový Areal Stadion.

FC Kosice are best known outside their homeland for their two clashes with Manchester United in the 1997-1998 European Champions League group stages. United beat them on both occasions. During this brief campaign in Europe's biggest club competition, Kosice suffered a tragedy when midfielder Milan Cvirk was killed in a car crash at the age of 21.

Last season, on the brink of financial collapse and relegation from the second division, the owners of 1. FC, were offered help by the president of Steel Trans Licartovce, one of the favourites to advance to the premier league this season. Steel Trans will also pay for the Cermel stadium in Kosice, where all former 1. FC teams - now under the protective wings of Ličartovce - will play their matches. Kosice, the second largest city in Slovakia, now has no club in the top two divisions (although many can remember two in the Czechoslovak federal league). Another great team from the past, Lokomotiva Košice, is in the fourth division. It is quite difficult to predict the future of football in the city, whose major stadium is in a catastrophic condition and whose football officials turn a deaf ear to cries for help.

Reformed on 17 June 2005, the club was renamed MFK Košice from FC Steel Trans Ličartovce. They ended the season gaining promotion back to the premier league.


Current squad

Former players

External links

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