Europe football governing body said that europe will retain the same format to decide which 13 nations qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. UEFA secretary general Gianni Infantino said Europe will enter the same 53 countries which played in the 2010 World Cup qualifying tournament, when nine group winners gained direct entry to the event in South Africa.
The eight best runners-up will be drawn in two-legged playoffs to decide four remaining slots.
The 53 teams will be split into eight groups of six teams and one group of five teams.
The preliminary draw for the 2014 World Cup, which will feature 32 teams, is scheduled for July 30 in Brazil. Europe now has its lowest share of teams at the World Cup since the inaugural 1930 event, when four travelled to a 13-nation tournament in Uruguay.
Thirteen European teams played in the 1994 World Cup hosted by the United States which was the last with 24 countries. Europe provided 15 of the 32 teams in 1998 and 2002 — 14 of which went through qualifying while France qualified automatically as the ’98 hosts. It also qualified as defending champion four years later, when Japan and South Korea co-hosted. Defending champions are no longer guaranteed a place.
In 2006, Europe was reduced to 13 qualifiers but host Germany was a 14th UEFA representative. Infantino also announced that the executive committee approved recommendations from a working group on corruption and match fixing, “which focuses on establishing a network of integrity officers around Europe involving all national associations and on fostering collaboration with state authorities.”
The executive committee also appointed Istanbul, Turkey, as the host of next year’s congress. [Source: CBC Sports]