There are 52 teams in contention as the draw for the qualifying round of the 2008/09 UEFA European Under-17 Championship takes place in Cannes at 17.45CET this afternoon.
The teams – including holders Spain as well as previous winners Russia (2006), Turkey (2005), France (2004), Portugal (2003) and Switzerland (2002) – will be divided into 13 groups comprised of four teams each. The top two in each section, plus the two third-placed sides with the best record against the top two in their group, will progress to the Elite round, to be played in spring 2009. The winners of the seven Elite round sections will join hosts Germany in next May's final tournament.
Fair Play prize
The draw, part of the ninth UEFA Elite Youth Football Conference, will be conducted by Jim Boyce, first vice-chairman of UEFA's Youth and Amateur Football Committee, development competitions manager Claudio Negroni and Henning Sauerbier, whose Germany side finished fifth at the 2007 finals. Sauerbier will be presented with the UEFA Fair Play award in recognition of the sporting conduct of his team, coaching staff and supporters.
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