December 9, 2013
Fifa meetingSaturday, October 5, 2013
Eight highest ranked teams will be seeded
ZURICH — Host Brazil and the seven highest-ranked teams in FIFA’s October standings will be given the top seeds in the group draw for the 2014 World Cup.
FIFA’s executive committee decided yesterday on a system which means Belgium and Colombia are almost assured of being seeded in the December 6 draw if they advance as expected this month. The current top seven teams are Spain, Argentina, Germany, Italy, Colombia, Belgium and Uruguay. Brazil is ranked No. 8.
FIFA said the other three draw pots in the 32-team tournament will be determined by “geographic and sports criteria.”
FIFA originally planned to agree on a seeding method just before the draw in Salvador de Bahia. But it has opted for a simple reference to its world rankings rather than also weigh teams’ performances at previous World Cups.
FIFA will publish the next rankings on October 17.
In other decisions at the two-day board meeting which ended yesterday: FIFA approved two measures to protect players’ health. Cooling breaks after the 30th minute of each half in matches can be taken if temperatures rise above 32 Celsius and a defibrillator must be available at every international match.
Iraq was refused permission to lift a ban on playing home international friendlies because of security risks.
QATAR WORLD CUP. After all the talk about changing the dates of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, it will be another year or more before any decision is made. FIFA President Sepp Blatter ordered “deep consultations” yesterday about shifting the tournament from the scorching summer heat in the Gulf country, saying a decision on the highly divisive issue might be delayed until 2015. Blatter also reiterated that the tournament will definitely stay in Qatar, and said he will travel to the desert nation to raise concerns over the treatment of migrant workers involved in building World Cup venues, transport links and hotels.
Any switch of the dates could lead to legal challenges from the losing bidders, European leagues and broadcasters that bought rights based on a June-July event.