February's meeting of the Organising Committee for the FIFA U-20 World Cup focused on this year's edition of the longest-running FIFA youth tournament, set to take place in Turkey from 21 June to 13 July. An important item on the agenda in Zurich was the procedure for the final draw on 25 March, when the 24 teams will be assigned to six groups.
As a result of being seeded as Team 1 in Group A, Spain will be based in Istanbul for all three of their group matches. The other five FIFA continental champions go into Pot 1. The remaining AFC and CAF representatives are in Pot 2, with Pot 3 containing the teams from CONMEBOL and CONCACAF. Hosts Turkey and the five other UEFA teams will be drawn from Pot 4. It was resolved as a basic principle that teams from the same confederation should not play each other at the group stage.
The draw will be held in Istanbul on 25 March, when FIFA will present a newly styled FIFA U-20 World Cup trophy to be awarded in July. Representatives of the competing teams will travel to Turkey for the draw, aiming to gain initial impressions before reporting back to their delegations. The programme for the days following the draw includes host city visits, providing an opportunity to inspect the stadiums, hotels and training facilities.
“It was very good to observe how well preparations for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013 are going,” said FIFA U-20 World Cup Organising Committee chairman Jim Boyce, “I will report to the Executive Committee that FIFA’s second-biggest tournament will be an absolute highlight of the year 2013. Work at the stadiums is already very well advanced, and there's outstanding local support."
"If we cast our minds back, we'll recall that the likes of Lionel Messi, Xavi, Diego Maradona, Kaka and Luis Figo graced this tournament before going on to become footballing greats," Boyce added. "I'm already looking forward to getting to know the next generation of top players in Turkey this summer. I'm pleased to be traveling to Istanbul next week to attend the presentation of the ‘Giant Balls’ and the official music, before experiencing in close-up the exciting draw on 25 March.”