AUCKLAND – The Oceania Football Confederation has finalised the format for the Oceania Qualifying path to the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The OFC Executive Committee agreed on this format at its meeting in Auckland, New Zealand last Sunday, 16 March, 2003.
The proposed format will be sent to FIFA for its endorsement at the next meeting of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany organising committee in May, 2003.
The qualifying route to Germany will involve a preliminary competition split into two stages. Stage 1 will be the group tournaments and Stage 2 will be the playoff series involving the top six teams.
A summary of the qualifying format is attached.
OFC Qualification Path for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany
Preliminary Competition – Stage 1
i) Australia and New Zealand are seeded.
ii) The remaining 10 OFC countries are seeded into two groups of 5 teams based on their placing in the 2002 OFC Nations Cup as follows:
7th Papua New Guinea
11th American Samoa*
6th Solomon Islands
8th New Caledonia
12th Cook Islands**
* This is based on their placing in the preliminary competition of the 2002 OFC Nations Cup.
** is ranked 12th because they did not participate in the 2002 OFC Nations Cup.
This will involve two group tournaments in two venues with the winner and runner up of each group advancing to Stage II. The venues of the group tournaments have yet to be decided.
Preliminary Competition – Stage II
Australia, New Zealand and the Winner and Runner Up of Group A and Group B will play in a 6 team play off series home and away (5 home matches and 5 away matches).
2. New Zealand
3. Winner Group A
4. Winner Group B
5. Runner up Group A
6. Runner up Group B
* The winner of the Playoff Series will be the OFC Qualifier for the 2006 FIFA World Cup
* Preliminary Competition – Stage I in June 2004 in two venues (venues/dates to be confirmed in May 2003)
* Preliminary Competition – Stage II on 5 FIFA fixed double dates to be chosen from the following dates:
2004: 4/8 Sept, 9/13 Oct.
2005: 26/30 March, 4/8 June, 3/7 Sept, 12/16 Nov (dates to be confirmed in May 2003)