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Eyes down for Regions' Cup draw

The qualifying campaign for the 4th UEFA Regions' Cup will begin with the draw on Friday 2 April.

The qualifying campaign for the 4th UEFA Regions' Cup will begin with the draw on Friday 2 April.

Focus on France
With 37 different UEFA nations competing in the fourth edition of Europe's blue riband event for amateur football teams, attentions will focus on the Château Blois where the draw for the preliminary and intermediary rounds will be made at 10:30CET.

Draw partners
The draw will be made by the Chairman of UEFA's Youth and Amateur Football Committee, Jim Boyce, and Anthony Guyard, representing the fairplay winners of the last competition, Ligue du Maine Amateur.

Maine man
Veterans of last year's final tournament will remember Guyard as the captain of the French side who were beaten 2-1 in the final by Italy's Piemonte Valle D'Aosta Amateur. Guyard ended up on the losing side but was perhaps the most impressive individual player of the final tournament.

Two stages
The draw will be made in two distinct stages, with the first task to select the teams to compete in the opening, preliminary round of the tournament. The 19 associations who have not competed in the three previous Regions' Cup final tournaments will all be involved.

Prelminary round
Two mini-tournaments, one in Slovenia and one in Romania, will be held between 1 August and 30 September this year, the former for associations in the region defined as Central/West, and the latter for the teams in the region defined as Central/East.

Automatic bye
Three teams will be drawn from each regional pot to compete alongside the hosts in the two mini-tournaments, with the remaining undrawn teams receiving an automatic bye into the intermediary round, which will see eight regionalised mini-tournaments being contested by groups of four teams.

Three progress
Three teams can qualify for the intermediary round from the preliminary round - the winning team in each of the mini-tournaments and whichever runner-up from the two groups who ends up with the best overall record.

Geographical division
These three teams will join the eleven who received an automatic bye and the 18 associations who have already competed in the final tournaments in the draw for the intermediary round which, like the preliminary round, will also be contested, for reasons of practicality, in two geographical groups.

Intermediary stages
Eight nations have already agreed to host mini-tournaments, and each host nation will be joined by three other associations from the draw to contest their group, with the winning team from each group winning a place in the final tournament, which will be held at an unknown location in June 2005.
For the Central/West pot, the mini-tournament hosts will be as follows:

Group 1: France
Group 2: Croatia
Group 3: Bosnia-Herzegovina
Group 4: Czech Republic

For the Central/East pot, the mini-tournament hosts will be as follows:

Group 5: Ukraine
Group 6: Poland
Group 7: Bulgaria
Group 8: Hungary

The following teams will be in the draw for the preliminary round

Slovenia (seeded as group hosts)
San Marino
Northern Ireland

Romania (seeded as group hosts)

The following teams will be in the draw for the intermediary round:

The Netherlands
Republic of Ireland
France (seeded as group 1 hosts)
Croatia (seeded as group 2 hosts)
Bosnia-Herzegovina (seeded as group 3 hosts)
Czech Republic (seeded as group 4 hosts)

Serbia and Montenegro
Ukraine (seeded as group 5 hosts)
Poland (seeded as group 6 hosts)
Bulgaria (seeded as group 7 hosts)
Hungary (seeded as group 8 hosts)