A record 45 teams have entered UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 with debutants Denmark, Gibraltar, Sweden and Wales among those competing for places in the finals in Antwerp, Belgium.
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There are a record 45 entrants for UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 and the draw in Nyon for the two group stages of qualifying will be streamed live on UEFA.com at 14.00CET on Tuesday.
Of the 44 sides aiming to join hosts Belgium in the 12-team finals in Antwerp from 28 January to 8 February 2014, a total of 22 will start in the preliminary round before a victorious six of those follow the 22 countries given byes into the main round. Among those entering are four newcomers: Denmark, Gibraltar*, Sweden and Wales.
In the preliminary round, taking place between 22 and 27 January 2013, six groups will be formed, four consisting of four teams each and two of three, all to be played as one-venue mini-tournaments. The contenders have been split into four seeding tiers according to their coefficient ranking while four teams have been pre-designated as mini-tournament hosts: Lithuania, France, Bulgaria and Malta (the hosts of Groups E and F will be agreed after the draw).
Pot 1 will contain six balls marked Group A–F. Once that is drawn, the four hosts will be drawn from Pot 2 and positioned according to their ranking. Then the nations from the fourth tier of seeds (the four debutants) will be drawn and placed in the available fourth positions; the procedure will be repeated for the other three seeding pots.
The six group winners will advance to the main round from 27 to 30 March, also to be drawn on Tuesday with seven pools being formed. The seven mini-tournament hosts have already been allocated – Spain (attempting to win their fifth straight title), Italy, Serbia, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Turkey and Latvia.
They will be picked first and placed into the six groups as per their seeding tier, and the same procedure as for the preliminary round will continue for the rest of the draw. The preliminary round winners will constitute the fourth tier of seeds.
The seven qualifying round group winners will progress to join Belgium in the final tournament. The seven runners-up plus the best third-placed side will go into the play-offs on 17 and 24 September. The winners of the four two-legged ties will complete the 12-team lineup for the finals.
Preliminary round draw pots
Pot 1: Groups A, B, C, D, E, F (to decide which will be three-team sections)
Pot 2 – hosts (seeding tier): Lithuania (1), France (1), Bulgaria (2), Malta (3)
Pot 3 (tier 4): Denmark, Gibraltar, Sweden, Wales
Pot 4 (tier 3): England, Armenia, Switzerland, Estonia, San Marino
Pot 5 (tier 2): Georgia, Andorra, Montenegro, Cyprus, Norway
Pot 6 (tier 1): Israel, Albania, Moldova, Greece
Main round draw pots
Pot 7 – hosts (seeding tier): Spain (holders, 1), Italy (1), Serbia (2), Slovakia (2), Netherlands (3), Turkey (3), Latvia (4)
Pot 8 (tier 4): Winners preliminary round Groups A, B, C, D, E and F
Pot 9 (tier 3): Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Poland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Finland
Pot 10 (tier 2): Croatia, Romania, Slovenia, Hungary, Belarus
Pot 11 (tier 1): Russia, Portugal, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Azerbaijan
* The UEFA Executive Committee admitted Gibraltar as a provisional member of UEFA on 1 October 2012. This follows a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in August 2011. A decision on the admission of the Gibraltar Football Association (GFA) as a full member of UEFA will be taken by the XXXVII Ordinary UEFA Congress in London in May 2013. As per a UEFA Executive Committee decision, Spain and Gibraltar cannot be drawn into the same group (so the winners of Gibraltar's preliminary round group cannot be drawn in Spain's main round group).