FIFA has announced a new and simplified format for the 2018 World Cup draw and according to it, the teams that will qualify for the tournament will be grouped by their spot in world ranking, rather than within their continent.
By Sports Reporter
It was confirmed by the global soccer body that there will be four pots for the division of 32 teams and the seven top-ranked teams plus hosts Russia will be in pot one, the next eight-ranked teams in pot two and so on.
Each first-round group would consist of one team from each pot, which will be determined by the draw. Also, the only geographical constraint would be that no group could include two teams from the same continent, with the exception of Europe, revealed FIFA.
The draw for the previous World Cup in Brazil involved a complex system in which teams were divided according to rankings for pot one and their continent for the remainder.
However, to even out the numbers, a ‘pre-draw’ was held and a temporary ‘Pot X’ was set up, creating a system that critics said was unnecessarily complex.
Latest team rankings will be available on October 16 and would be used for the draw, which will take place in Moscow on Dec. 1.
This would avoid another controversy which emerged in 2014 when the November rankings were used, which critics said gave an advantage to teams involved in that month’s playoffs.
According to current rankings, the top seven-ranked teams include Poland and Switzerland, while Peru and Wales could feature in Pot 2 alongside France and Spain, if they qualify.
Italy are currently 17th in the FIFA ranking which would land them in Pot 3 if all the teams above them qualify.
So far, Brazil, Iran, Mexico, Japan, Belgium, South Korea and Saudi Arabia have booked their berth for the tournament, which is scheduled to take place next year.