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Play-off draws on horizon

UEFA has finalised the details of the UEFA EURO 2004™ and European Under-21 Championship play-off draws.

UEFA is finalising the details of the two play-off draw ceremonies to take place in Frankfurt on Monday. The draw for the UEFA EURO 2004™ and 2002/04 UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-offs will be held at the Airport Sheraton in the German city.

Closing games
The teams who will contest the play-offs in both competitions will be known this weekend. The final EURO 2004™ qualifying matches are staged on Saturday, and they will be preceded on Friday by the closing games in the Under-21 qualifying tournament.

Ten in the hat
Ten teams - the runners-up in the ten qualifying groups - go into the hat for the EURO 2004™ play-off draw at 12.15CET. All of the teams go into the same bowl, after UEFA confirmed last month that no team would be seeded for the draw. The UEFA Executive Committee took the view that this procedure was the simplest and fairest for the play-offs.

Draw procedure
The play-offs will take place over two legs on 15/16 and 18/19 November. At the draw, two balls will be taken from the bowl to determine the first fixture, with the team drawn first playing the first match at home. The procedure will be repeated until all the teams have been paired into five fixtures.

Sixteen countries in finals
The five teams who win their play-off ties will qualify for the EURO 2004™ final round in Portugal next summer, joining the ten qualifying group winners and the host country in the tournament.

U21 draw
The European Under-21 Championship play-off draw takes place 15 minutes before the EURO 2004™ draw, at 12.00CET. Sixteen teams are involved in the draw - ten group winners and the six best runners-up - and the play-offs take place over two legs, on 15/16 and 18/19 November.

U21 criteria
The six best runners-up are to be determined on the basis of their results against the teams in first, third and fourth place, with a variety of criteria available for the final verdict - number of points obtained against the first, third and fourth teams, goal difference from these matches, number of goals scored or away goals in these matches, or the Fair Play conduct of the teams in all group matches. The drawing of lots is the final criterion that could be used to determine best runners-up.

Composition of bowls
The six top-ranked group winners will be placed in bowl A (ball colour blue). The six runners-up will be placed into bowl B (red), and the four lower-ranked group winners will be placed in bowl C (green). A ball will be drawn first from bowl B, followed by a ball from bowl A to determine the first match. Teams drawn from bowl B will play their first match at home, against the team drawn from bowl A. This procedure is repeated for the first six fixtures.

Position switches
If a group winner are drawn against a runner-up they have already played against in the qualifying competition, they will automatically be transferred to the next fixture. If this situation arises for the sixth fixture, the first and sixth-drawn group winners will switch positions.

Final round next May
As far as the seventh match is concerned, two balls will be taken from bowl C. The first drawn team play the first match at home. The same procedure will be repeated for the final match in the draw. The eight play-off winners will contest the UEFA European Under-21 Championship final round next May, at a venue to be decided from among the final-round participants.