The UEFA European Under-17 Championship consists of three distinct stages: the qualifying round, the elite round and the final tournament. The format changed for 2014/15 with the expansion of the final tournament from eight to 16 teams.
The qualifying round, played in autumn, is made up of 13 groups of four countries playing in one-venue mini-tournaments. The top two from each pool progress alongside the five third-placed sides with the best record against the leading pair in their groups.
In the elite round, held in early spring, those 31 qualifiers plus the top seed – given a bye this far – compete in eight mini-tournament groups of four. The group winners and seven runners-up with the best record against the teams first and third in their section advance to the finals to join the hosts.
In the final tournament the contenders are split into four groups of four, with the front two from each proceeding to the knockout phase.
Further details, including the criteria for separating sides that finish level on points in a group, or after 80 minutes in a match, can be found in the official competition regulations.
Bulgaria stages the UEFA European Under-17 Championship from 6 to 22 May 2015, the first edition of this tournament since 2002 to comprise 16 teams. The 15 sides to join the hosts will be decided by the elite round in the spring, with the finals featuring four groups of four and also acting as Europe's qualifier for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile.
UEFA has been allocated six berths in the FIFA event, which will go to the four semi-finalists and the winners of two play-offs involving beaten quarter-finalists.
The tournament will be the first UEFA youth final round hosted by Bulgaria, who held the 2007 UEFA Regions' Cup. For the home nation, it will be their first participation in a UEFA junior finals since the 1991 U16 Championship.
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