Media Release

Federation Internationale de Football Association

FIFA Strasse 20, P.O Box 8044 Zurich, Switzerland, +41 (0) 43 222 7777

FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2006 qualifiers to start in Brazil on 5 March

The countdown to the second FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup will start in the land of samba this Sunday (5 March 2006) with the South American qualifying tournament. The competition on the beaches of Macaé will be the first of six qualifying events for the confederations, culminating in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2006 from 2 to 12 November 2006. The final competition will see the top 16 teams battle it out on the sands of the Copacabana beach.

"We are breaking new ground in beach soccer - for the first time, each confederation will have their own qualifying event. We no longer have participation based on invitations," said FIFA General Secretary Urs Linsi. "We are proud of the progress we have made in welcoming beach soccer into the FIFA family and are convinced that this action-packed derivation of football is integral to our mission to broaden the appeal of football."

From 5 to 12 March, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela will battle for the two remaining berths in the South American zone for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2006. For Brazil - who have automatically qualified as the hosts of the tournament- the competition will serve as a dress rehearsal. Detailed information on the qualifiers can be found under the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup section on .

The qualifiers will continue in May with two confederations' tournaments (AFC and OFC) taking place in the United Arab Emirates. Six Asian teams will be competing in the UAE for three slots, with four from Oceania playing for just the one ticket to Rio de Janeiro in November. Two months later, the African zone qualifiers will be held in Durban, South Africa with two teams advancing to the final tournament. The five European teams will be selected at the Superfinal of the Euro Beach Soccer League in Marseilles in August, with the top five teams qualifying for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. The final two qualifier berths for the sport's premier competition will be decided in the North, Central American and Caribbean zone in September.