Competition format

Europe has been allocated seven berths in the 24-team finals in Colombia from 10 September to 1 October 2016

Competition format
Competition format ©Getty Images

Europe has been allocated seven berths in the 24-team finals in Colombia from 10 September to 1 October 2016

Qualifying will be in three stages: 
1. A preliminary round from 22 to 25 October 2015 (drawn on 2 July)
2. The main round from 10 to 13 December 2015 (drawn on 2 July)
3. Seven two-legged play-offs on 22 March and 12 April 2016 (drawn on 12 February).

The lowest-ranked entrants compete in the preliminary round. The six group wuinners then progress to join the remaining 22 sides in the main round, consisting of seven four-team mini-tournaments. The top two in each progress to the two-legged play-offs, which will decide Europe's seven qualifiers.

Full details are contained in the Regulations of the European qualifying competition.