Green light for EURO 2004™ draw procedure
Wednesday 23 January 2002
The UEFA Executive Committee has approved the draw procedure for Friday's EURO 2004™ qualifying competition draw at Europarque in Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal. The committee gave the green light to the procedure on the opening day of its two-day meeting in Porto on Wednesday.
Ten groups of five teams
Fifty of the 51 UEFA member associations will be included in the draw, with Portugal qualifying automatically for the final round as EURO 2004™ hosts. Under the procedure, the EURO 2004™ qualifying competition will be staged in ten groups of five teams each.
Five different pots
The 50 associations have been divided into five different pots (A to E), each containing ten teams. Starting with pot E and ending with pot A, the competing teams will be divided into Groups 1 to 10 in the order in which they are drawn. The ten teams in pot E will be the first drawn into the ten groups, the ten teams in pot D will be the next allocated a group, and so forth.
France top seeds
Current European champions France are automatically the top seeds, while the other associations taking part in the qualifying competition have been classified on the basis of their results in the qualifying competitions for EURO 2000™ and the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
EURO 2004™ qualifying competition matches must be played on the ten international match dates between September 2002 and October 2003. In the event where associations are unable to agree on the order of their matches within 60 days of the draw, matches will be staged according to a standard fixture list drawn up by UEFA.
Sixteen-team final round
The EURO 2004™ final round, which takes place in Portugal between 12 June and 4 July 2004, will feature 16 teams. The Portuguese hosts will be joined by 15 associations from the qualifying competition - the ten group winners, who will qualify directly, and five other teams from among the ten group runners-up, who will contest play-offs on a two-leg home-and-away basis in November 2003.