The UEFA Executive Committee has today approved the procedure for the forthcoming UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying competition draw at its meeting at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland.
The 53 participating teams involved in the draw – taking place in Nice, France, on 23 February at 12.00CET – have been split into six pots on the basis of their coefficient, which is based on results obtained in the 2010 FIFA World Cup (qualifying and final tournament), UEFA EURO 2012 (qualifying and final tournament) and the 2014 World Cup (qualifying, including play-offs), with these competitions given a weighting of 20%, 40% and 40% respectively.
The participating sides will be drawn into nine groups: eight groups of six teams and one group of five. The detailed draw procedure and seeding pots can be accessed here.
Hosts France qualify automatically and will play centralised friendlies in accordance with the Week of Football match schedule against teams from the five-team qualifying group.
This scheduling format for the European Qualifiers for both UEFA EURO 2016 and the 2018 World Cup entails matches being played from Thursday to Tuesday. Kick-off times will be largely set at 18.00CET and 20.45CET on Saturdays and Sundays and at 20.45CET for Thursdays, Fridays, Mondays and Tuesdays. On double-header matchweeks, sides will play on Thursday and Sunday, or Friday and Monday, or Saturday and Tuesday.
The nine group winners, the nine runners-up and the best third-placed team will qualify directly for the UEFA EURO 2016 final round. The eight remaining third-placed sides will contest home-and-away play-off games to determine the remaining four nations to reach the finals.
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