Procedure for preliminary draw and final competition match schedule approved
At its meeting in Frankfurt today under the chairmanship of FIFA senior vice-president Julio Grondona (deputising for the indisposed Lennart Johansson), the Organising Committee for the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ ratified the procedure for the preliminary draw for the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ to be held on 5 December. The match schedule for the World Cup final competition, due to kick off in Munich on 9 June and to culminate in the final in Berlin on 9 July 2006, was also approved (see separate media release).
A total of 197 associations, plus New Caledonia, have enrolled for the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ preliminary competition. In the meantime, Guam, Nepal and the Central African Republic have announced their withdrawal. As preliminary competitions have been held in Asia and Africa, 156 associations will now be drawn by lots in Frankfurt. No lots will be drawn for South America, where the qualifying round played in the league system has already started. With Germany qualifying automatically as hosts, initial estimates suggest that over 850 qualifying matches will be played to determine the remaining 31 World Cup finalists. During the qualifying round for the 2002 World Cup, 777 matches were contested.
The FIFA Organising Committee passed a detailed, step-by-step procedure for the draw and the manner in which the teams will be allocated to the special bowls. It was also decided how the various stages of the preliminary competition would be played - either league or knockout. The information may be accessed through the official website www.fifaworldcup.com .
SpellboundThe entire football world will be casting their eyes towards Frankfurt in the late afternoon of Friday, 5 December 2003. The actual ceremony for the preliminary draw for the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ will begin on the dot of 17.05 CET in the historic Festhalle in the metropolis of Frankfurt.
An audience of some 3,500 people, including celebrities from politics, sport and show business alongside 700 media reporters, will be watching the ceremony live. Headed by FIFA Deputy General Secretary Jérôme Champagne, ten stars will have the honour of drawing the names: six-time Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher, Italian FIFA referee Pierluigi Collina, former Mexican national goalkeeper Jorge Campos, USA women’s international Brandi Chastain, former international players Bum Kun Cha (Korea) and Yasuhiko Okudera (Japan), Ghana’s football star Abédi Pelé and Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour as well as Oceania’s Player of the Century Wynton Rufer, and Manfred Schäfer, who took part with Australia in the 1974 World Cup in Germany.