The 15 teams eliminated in the UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ preliminary round last November are preparing for a series of friendly mini-tournaments, held as part of the European football governing body's policy of assisting the developing nations in the gap before their next competitive games in 2009.
Four sets of matches will be played, and the first fixtures begin next month, when from 26-31 October F.Y.R. Macedonia will welcome Armenia, Georgia and Croatia. Bosnia-Herzegovina, Luxembourg and Malta will compete at the Grbavica Stadium in Sarajevo from 29 October-2 November, and on that latter date in Lithuania - the home nation - will begin their competition with Estonia, the Faroe Islands and Latvia. In the other event, hosts Turkey, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria and Kazakhstan play from 4-9 November.
Another four mini-tournaments will be held in the spring or summer of next year, with Lithuania, Malta and Croatia in Estonia, Luxembourg welcoming the Faroe Islands, Latvia and F.Y.R. Macedonia, Bulgaria at home to Armenia, Turkey and Bosnia-Herzegovina and Azerbaijan hosting Kazakhstan and Georgia. The last two mini-tournament rounds will take place in the autumn and spring of the 2008/09 season. These games are a development tool and results will not count towards coefficients for future draws, the next of which will be for 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying.
UEFA Competition Manager Women's Football, Anne Vonnez-King, told uefa.com: "UEFA is pleased to put in place this support programme in order to ensure the continued development of these 15 associations. The programme has been developed in close cooperation between the Professional Football and Football Development divisions and we hope that these teams will gain valuable experience to stand them in good stead for future UEFA A-team competitions, the next of which will kick off in 2009."
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