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Friday, December 6, 2013

UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying format officially confirmed

Not by UEFA, but by the Romanian FA.

Original article in Romanian. Main points below.

Assuming all 53 FAs will participate - there will be 8 groups of 6 teams and one of 5 teams.

The teams will be split in 6 pots according to the UEFA coefficient. This list doesn't appear in the FRF article, is based on my calculations.

Pot 1: Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, England, Portugal, Greece, Russia, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Pot 2: Croatia, Ukraine, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Republic of Ireland
Pot 3: Serbia, Turkey, Slovenia, Israel, Norway, Slovakia, Romania, Austria, Montenegro
Pot 4: Armenia, Poland, Scotland, Finland, Latvia, Wales, Bulgaria, Estonia, Belarus
Pot 5: Iceland, Northern Ireland, Albania, Lithuania, Moldova, FYR Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Cyprus
Pot 6: Luxembourg, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Faroe Islands, Malta, Andorra, San Marino, Gibraltar

The schedule for each group will be determined by the computer, not by the football associations.

These are the principles used to determine the schedule:

a) Home/away

 - Team won't play more than 2 games consecutively at home (or away)
 - Each team will start and end the competition with a home-away (or away-home) double.
 - For countries with long winters - these teams will play away on match days 4 and 5 (November and March)

b) Venues with climate risk

 - Stadiums belonging to FAs from countries with cold winters are in this category
 - In a group there will be at most 3 teams from countries with cold winters. There are two subcategories: Very cold winter (Finland, Faroe Islands, Norway and Russia) and Cold winter (Andorra, Belarus, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Sweden and Ukraine).

c) Transportation

 - The objective is to avoid long distances when playing two matches in the same FIFA window.
 - Based on the distances between the capitals of the countries involved, the transport links can be: conditioned ( flight time > 8 hours), semi-conditioned (between 6 and 8 hours) and unconditioned (less than 6 hours).
 - In a group there will be at most 3 teams from countries that involve long distances.

d) Political situation

No Armenia/Azerbaijan, Russia/Georgia, Spain/Gibraltar.

e) TV rights

England, Spain, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands will play in groups of 6 teams.

f) Constraints and preferences

Constraints are more important than preferences.

Order of priority for constraints: Cold winter (1), transport distances (2), specific restrictions (3), reasonable kick-off time (4).

Order of priority for preferences: top TV markets (6), late kick-off time (7), regional spread (7), equal spread of matches/kick-off times (9).

Yes (I know, there's no 5 and 8, while 7 appears twice, but that's how it's in the FRF article).

Games will take place Thursday-Sunday or Friday-Monday or Saturday-Tuesday from 20:45 CET. In weekends the kick-off could be at 18:00 CET.

About me:

Christian, husband, father x 3, programmer, Romanian. Started the blog in March 2007. Quit in April 2018. You can find me on LinkedIn.


  1. Thank you Edgar!
    If FIFA Rankings won't change, it would put Portugal, Greece, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and especially Russia (who will have at least 3 away matches in the last year before WC2018 Qualifing draw) at disadvantage as they would have 25% of being in a 5 teams group.

  2. Your Pot rankings have 6 pots of up to 9 nations. But your news article suggests that there will only be 8 groups. You will need to revise your Pots, and introduce a 7th pot. This also suggests that the top 3 qualify, with exception of the worst 3rd placed nation, and that there will no longer be play-offs.

    1. Actually, it says there will be 9 groups: 8 of six teams and 1 of 5 teams.
      Juan (Arg.)

    2. Of course it does, my mistake. Play-offs are back.

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  4. Funny how different criteria produce different results: Switzerland & Belgium are top seeds in the WORLD but only pot 2 in Europe.
    Hope to see weekend games again as can't follow games as easy on weekdays in North America.

    1. Sepp Blatter's personal formula to push the Swiss up.

  5. EURO 2016 regulations have been officially published.

    No surprises there, everything as expected.

    1. There it goes, the best international football tournament ruined by sheer greed. Only a matter of time before the WC goes the same way with 40 teams. Shame on you, Platini.


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