The biggest sporting event, FIFA U-17 World Cup, is set to take place in India in the month of October from 6th to 28th.
The country was announced as the host nation of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in December 2013. The governing body of world football received bids from Azerbaijan, India, Ireland and Uzbekistan which saw the subcontinent nation winning the contest.
24 countries will be participating in the World Cup, from six different confederations. From Asia- Iran, Iraq, Japan and DPR ‘North’ Korea have qualified from the 2016 U-16 Championship while India has been given a spot on account of being the host nation. From Africa- Ghana, Guinea, Mali and Niger have progressed from 2017 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations.
From Central, North American and Caribbean zones, we will witness the likes of Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico and the United States of America, all of whom have progressed from the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship. The South American zone will comprise countries namely Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Paraguay, all having successfully qualified from the 2017 South American U-17 Championship.
Oceania Football Federation has been gifted an extra spot, starting from 2017, which means UEFA will receive only five spots, one lesser than their usual six spots. New Caledonia and New Zealand will represent Oceania, after having progressed from the 2017 OFC U-17 Championship. Lastly, the European contingent will see nations namely England, France, Germany, Spain and Turkey- all having clinched a spot each in the World Cup, owing to their achievements from the 2017 UEFA European Championship.
The official draw of the mega event will be held on 7th July at Mumbai, starting from 7 PM IST. The 24 countries will be divided into four team pots, each pot comprising six nations each. The qualified nations will be classified and allocated to the pots in the declining order of their ranking, taking into account the performances in the previous U-17 World Cups and also their result from the respective qualification tournaments of their confederations.
In addition to this, there will be six different bowls representing the six groups- Group A, B, C, D, E and F respectively. The balls from this bowl will determine the positioning of the countries in the groups. First, teams will be drawn from Pot 1 and those six teams will be placed in the successive groups. On completion of drawing teams from Pot 1, the remaining pots will be followed in the sequential order with pot four finalising the entire draw.
In the case of a nation being picked from any of the pots coincides with a nation from the same confederation in the group, then that group will be neglected. For example- If a country from AFC is picked from any of the pots and is supposed to enter Group A but India is a part of Group A, so the country cannot be a part of the same group as two nations would end up being from the same Confederation (AFC). In this case, a draw from Group B will be picked up to determine the nation’s positioning.
Host country India will be represented with a red coloured ball while other 23 nations will be represented with blue colour. Also, India, on account of being the host nation, will be placed in Group A by default.