Doha: As the biggest milestone ahead of football’s flagship event fast approaches, the procedures for the Final Draw for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 are now available. Fans and teams will find out their paths to possible glory on April 1, from 19:00 (Doha time), at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center at which time 29 out of the 32 participants will be known.
The procedures approved by the Organising Committee for FIFA Competitions outline that the 28 already qualified teams will be allocated according to sporting principles to pots 1 to 4 based on the FIFA/Coca-Cola Men’s World Ranking released on 31 March following the conclusion of the international match window. As hosts, Qatar will take position A1 from Pot 1, where they will be joined by the seven highest-ranked qualified teams from the FIFA/Coca-Cola Men’s World Ranking.
The countries occupying positions 8-15 in the ranking of the qualified teams will be allocated to Pot 2, while the 16th-23rd best-ranked qualifiers will be placed in Pot 3. Finally, Pot 4 will include the qualified teams in positions 24 to 28, plus three placeholders representing the two winners of the intercontinental play-offs and the remaining UEFA play-off winner.
The intercontinental play-offs will be contested on 13-14 June in Qatar, with the AFC representative facing the CONMEBOL representative and the Concacaf representative taking on the OFC representative, per the draw held on 26 November 2021. The final team to qualify through the UEFA play-offs will also be determined in the May-June international window, as per the decision taken by the Bureau of the FIFA Organising Committee on 8 March.
The draw will start with Pot 1 and end with Pot 4. Each pot will be completely emptied before moving on to the subsequent one. As per the standard draw procedure, a ball from a team pot will be drawn, followed by a ball from one of the group pots, thus determining the position in which the team will play. Teams from the same confederation will be kept apart in each of the eight groups with the exception of UEFA, which is represented by 13 teams. Five out of the eight groups will therefore have two European teams.
The group stage of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will last 12 days and feature four matches per day, providing all teams with optimal rest between their matches and offering an exciting schedule for fans, with the possibility of attending up to two matches per day at the beginning of the tournament. Qatar’s compact nature – with no air travel needed to move between the venues – will allow organisers, for the first time, to optimise specific match details for the benefit and comfort of supporters, teams and the media.
With that in mind, while the final draw will determine the group fixtures, the final match schedule will be confirmed after games have been assigned to a stadium and kick-off time for each matchday. In other words, based on the fixture in question, there is scope to provide a more beneficial kick-off time for audiences at home, or indeed for fans in Qatar with regard to the stadium allocation. That additional flexibility will not affect any technical aspects, since all stadiums are located within a compact radius and pleasant weather is the norm in November and December in Qatar, regardless of the venue and kick-off time.