World football governing body FIFA has said a special ranking will be established for African countries for the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifiers. In a letter sent by mail to the football federations of the 20 countries in the last stage of the qualifiers, FIFA said it would release the ranking on June 21 following complaints from several of the teams.
The previous ranking, which was done by FIFA last week, was fraught with complaints as some countries believed it should have been done with the June FIFA ranking.
Egypt were reportedly among the countries who complained about the seedings, which put them in Pot two along with Nigeria. They argued that they should be in Pot 1, which is reserved for the top seeds.
According to the letter signed by FIFA deputy secretary general, Marco Villiger, a new special ranking will be released on June 21, which is three days before the draw for the World Cup qualifiers.
The statement read, “Following some complaints with regards to the fluctuation of the FIFA/Coca Cola ranking in the month of June and, with the aim of transparency, it was decided to proceed to establishing a special FIFA/Coca Cola ranking with a closer date close to the one fixed for the draw.
“Therefore, a special ranking will be established on 21st June, 2016 in order to distribute the qualified teams into different pots accordingly. Please note that you will receive a specific communication in this respect on 21st June, 2016, in which the confirmation of the pots for the 20 teams will be revealed.”
The 20 teams will be drawn into five groups of four teams with the overall group winners qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The qualifiers are from October 2016 to November 2017.