With less than 100 days until the much-anticipated Olympic Football Tournaments get underway at London 2012, the host city is preparing for the gala draw that will decide how the participating nations can get in among the medals.
As ever, FIFA.com will be reporting live from the ceremony to bring you all the news from the draw. However, before the road to gold is mapped out for competing men’s and women’s national teams, we’ve answered some of the most Frequently Asked Questions about the event.
What will the draw decide? The draw will decide the make-up of the groups at the two Olympic Football Tournaments. On the men’s side, four groups of four teams will be drawn, while in the women’s section, the 12 competing sides will form three groups of four. For details of the squads of all the qualified nations, click on the links on the right-hand side.
How will the draw be structured? The pots for the men's draw will be:
Pot 1: Great Britain, Belarus, Spain and Switzerland
Pot 2: Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico and Honduras
Pot 3: Japan, Korea Republic, United Arab Emirates and New Zealand
Pot 4: Egypt, Gabon, Morocco, and Senegal
Seeded teams already with a position in the final groups: Great Britain (as host), position A1; Mexico (CONCACAF qualifying champions), position B1; Brazil (CONMEBOL qualifying champions), position C1; and Spain (UEFA qualifying champions) position D1.
The pots for the women's draw will be:
Pot 1: Great Britain, France and Sweden
Pot 2: Cameroon, South Africa, and Colombia
Pot 3: Japan, Korea DPR, and New Zealand
Pot 4: USA, Canada, and Brazil
Seeded teams already with a position in the final groups: Great Britain (as host), position E1; Japan (reigning FIFA Women’s World Cup Champions) position F1; USA (top rank amongst all qualified teams & reigning Olympic champions), Position G1.
Where will the draw be held? The Bobby Moore Room at Wembley Stadium will be the venue for the draw. Not only will the route to glory be drawn at the mythical stadium in London, but the destination of the gold and silver medals will also be decided there in the respective women’s and men’s finals on 9 and 11 August. That said, Olympic football fever will not be confined to the capital, with matches set to be hosted in venues as far apart as Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Coventry and Cardiff.
When will the draw take place? The event is scheduled to start at 11.00am (local time) on Tuesday 24 April and last approximately one hour.
Who will be present at the draw? TV sports presenters Mark Chapman and Gary Lineker will be hosting the ceremony. Lineker, a former England international striker who starred for Everton, Barcelona and Spurs among others, will be the master of ceremonies but will be assisted by a raft of household names from the world of football and show business: Brazil legend Ronaldo, singer Melanie C, former Wales and Scotland internationals Robbie Savage and Kevin Gallacher, and England women's star Kelly Smith. Also in attendance will be some distinguished and celebrity guests, while a good number of national team coaches have also opted to follow the draw in person, including Norio Sasaki, coach of women’s world champions Japan, and Luis Milla, head of the Spanish men’s side.
Why are the United Kingdom’s sides competing as Great Britain? No-one will have failed to notice that the host nation are competing as Great Britain, a team not often seen in international football tournaments. The team’s presence at London 2012 is because only sides representing sovereign states are allowed to take part in the Olympics. This will not be Great Britain’s first participation in an Olympic Football Tournament, the team having competed in some of the early editions and even taken gold at London 1908 and Stockholm 1912. Great Britain stopped taking part in the tournament after 1972, when the English FA abolished the official distinction between amateur and professional players. With amateurism at the time a requirement for competing at the Olympics, this meant the Olympic side was also disbanded. Even when professional footballers returned to the games in 1984, Great Britain declined to take part in the qualifying tournament. Their participation as hosts of London 2012 will be their first for 52 years.
How can we follow the draw? The best way to follow all the news from the draw is via FIFA.com. As soon as the groups are decided, our reporters in London will bring you all the results and explanations, as well as reactions from different national team coaches on their sides’ fortunes. In the meantime, get into the Olympic spirit by visiting our dedicated web pages for detailed information and news on both tournaments.