The draw will be held in the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris on Tuesday December12, 1995, from 18.20 to 19.50.
There is a record entry of 172 teams, including France (hosts) and Brazil (champions), who both qualify automatically and do not go into the draw.
The draw will be made in four blocks, as follows:
- a) Oceania (10 teams)
b) Asia (36 teams)
- a) South America (9 teams)
b) North and Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF) (28 teams)
- Africa (37 or 38 teams)
- Europe (49 teams, including Bosnia-Herzogovina, whose participation depends upon a FIFA Executive Committee decision on December 11).
Continent by continent, the draw procedure is as follows:
- Oceania: Australia and New Zealand will be seeded and the remaining eight teams drawn four each into the two groups. The eventual winner of a play-off between the top team in each group will then play off (home and away) against the fourth best Asian team for a place in the France 98 finals.
Asia: For the first time, the teams will not be divided into east and west but all drawn together in the first-round into six groups of four teams each and four groups of three each, with one seeded team per group. The ten group winners will be split into two groups of five teams each, with the top two teams of each such group contesting the Asian finals. The best three of these four Asian teams will qualify for France and the fourth will play off against the Oceania winner. 3.
South America: The nine teams will play a round-robin championship (each team plays each other team, home and away) and the top four teams will join Brazil in the finals. 4.
CONCACAF: A series of qualifying groups, based first upon the sub-regions of Central America and the Caribbean, will produce six teams to enter the semi-final phase together with the six other teams who have played in pervious World Cup finals. These 12 teams will be split into three groups and the top two teams of each group will then play a final round (home and away)to determine which three of these six teams will qualify for 1998. 5.
Africa: A single preliminary knock-out round (home and away), with small number of teams probably awarded byes, will reduce the number of teams to 20. These will be drawn into five groups of four teams each, and the five group winners will each qualify for France 98. 6.
Europe: There are currently two proposals: 1. UEFA proposes five groups of five teams each and four groups of six. The winner of each group would qualify, plus the best second-placed team (according to the criteria applied by UEFA for the EURO 96 qualification). The remaining eight second- placed teams would be drawn into pairs and the four winners of these play-offs (home and away) would also qualify, thus making 14 European teams to join the host nation in France (total of between eight and 12 matches per team). 2.
FIFA proposes that the 49 teams are drawn into seven groups of seven teams each, and the top two teams of each group qualify (total 12 matches per team). 3.7.
Where appropriate, and especially in Europe, it is proposed that teams are seeded according to their status in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking of November 21, 1995. A copy of this listing is attached.
- The final decision on this and all other aspects of the draw procedure willbe made at the meeting in Paris on December 10, 1995, by the FIFA OrganisingCommittee for the World Cup.
The draw will be conducted by FIFA General Secretary Joseph S. Blatter, with the assistance of international football stars (Zico/South America, Alex iLalas/North America, George Weah/Africa, Hristo Stoichkov/Europe and the Best Player of the 1995 Women's World Cup, Hege Riise/Norway) and French sports stars probably selected from racing driver Alain Prost, former tennis player Yannick Noah, Just Fontaine (top scorer in the 1958 World Cup with 13 goals),Alain Roche of the current French national team, and world champion athlete Marie-José Perec.
Note to Editors: The accreditation procedure for the Draw Ceremony is now closed and no new applications will be accepted.