Armenia, Azerbaijan won’t be drawn together in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying

Azerbaijan and Armenia cannot be drawn together in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying, the UEFA has announced.

The European 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying draw will be held on 25 July at Konstantinovsky Palace in St Petersburg, with FIFA world rankings deciding the seedings.

The 52 entrants (all UEFA national associations except automatically qualified hosts Russia and non-FIFA members Gibraltar) will be drawn into seven groups of six teams and two of five.

The nine group winners will advance directly to the final tournament.

The eight runners-up with the best record against the teams first, third, fourth and fifth in their groups proceed to play-offs to decide the remaining four European berths.

Six seeding pots will be formed as per theFIFA world rankings for July 2015 published early in the month.

All groups will contain one team from each of the top five seeding pots. Each of the seven sides in the sixth pot will be allocated to a six-team group.

Due to the centralisation of media rights for European Qualifiers, England, France,Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands will all be drawn into six-team groups. They may be placed in the same group if they are in different seeding pots.

Due to the political situation between the countries, and based on the relevant decisions taken by the UEFA Executive Committee, Azerbaijan and Armenia cannot be drawn together.