The UEFA Executive Committee approved the format of the European qualifying competition for the 2014 FIFA World Cup among a number of key decisions at its Paris meeting.
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The UEFA Executive Committee, chaired by UEFA President Michel Platini, met in Paris during the afternoon of Sunday 20 March and the morning of Monday 21 March and took the following main decisions:
• Approved the format of the European qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, whereby the 53 participating teams will be split into 8 groups of 6 teams and 1 group of 5 teams. The 9 group winners will qualify for the World Cup and the 8 best runners-up will contest home-and-away play-offs to determine which additional 4 teams qualify and take up the remainder of the 13 slots allocated to the European confederation. This proposal will be sent to FIFA for ratification.
• Appointed Istanbul, Turkey, to host the 2012 UEFA Congress.
• Approved the recommendations made by the working group on corruption/match-fixing which focus on establishing a network of integrity officers around Europe involving all national associations and on fostering collaboration with state authorities.
• Reconfirmed its previous decision to automatically suspend the Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Federation (NFSBiH) as from 1 April 2011 if the necessary statutory changes are not made by then.
• Approved the regulations for the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, UEFA Women's Champions League and UEFA Futsal Cup, the regulations for the qualifying competition of the 2012 FIFA Futsal World Cup, and the UEFA Anti-Doping Regulations, 2011 edition.
The UEFA President also expressed the sincere thanks of the entire European football family to Dr Joseph Mifsud, for his 17-year involvement in the development and running of the European game as a member and a vice-president of the Executive Committee and other UEFA Committees.
The Executive Committee meeting will be followed by the XXXV Ordinary UEFA Congress tomorrow, Tuesday 22 March, at the Grand Palais in Paris.
The next meeting of UEFA's Executive Committee is scheduled for 16 and 17 June in Nyon, Switzerland.