FIFA will go ahead with its controversial decision to stage World Cup matches at midday in tropical venues, President Sepp Blatter said as football’s governing body announced a bafflingly complex procedure for Friday’s draw, according to Eurosport.
General Secretary Jerome Valcke caused general bewilderment as he tried to explain the workings of the draw which will decide which teams comprise the eight first-round groups at next year’s tournament.
“It’s not easy to understand it the first time, I agree with you” he said. “It took me some time to be sure I had the right explanation.”
Each group will consist of one team from each of four pots with Pot 1 featuring the top seeds: Brazil, the host nation, alongside Colombia, Argentina, Uruguay, Germany, Spain, Belgium and Switzerland.
The other pots will be based on geographical criteria so that countries from the same confederations are kept apart.
Pot 2 will contain the five African teams, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Algeria, Nigeria and Cameroon, plus the non-seeded South American teams Chile and Ecuador and a European team to be moved out of Pot 4 in a pre-draw.
Pot 3 will feature Japan, Iran, South Korea, Australia, United States, Mexico, Costa Rica and Honduras while nine European sides, Bosnia, Croatia, England, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia and France, will comprise Pot 4.
Valcke revealed that a pre-draw will be held to move one of the nine European teams into Pot 2 where they would then be drawn against one of the four seeded South American teams to preserve the geographical balance of the draw.
Sepp Blatter says not everyone will be happy if drawn to play in more humid areas in Brazil – but that’s life. To complicate matters further, the four South American seeds would form a temporary Pot X and the three not drawn against the European team in Pot 2 will return to the main draw.
Italy manager Cesare Prandelli wants FIFA to authorise water breaks in each half of World Cup games. From June 23 until June 26 a pair of games will kick off at 1pm and the other pair at the same time later in the afternoon, although the clock will show 4pm in one stadium and 5pm at the other because they are in different time zones.