The draw for the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Blind Football World Championships, one of the most hotly anticipated Para sport competitions of 2018, will take place on Monday (23 April) in Madrid, Spain.
Sixteen teams will go into the pots to be drawn in four groups for the tournament.
IBSA Blind Football committee Chairperson Ulrich Pfisterer and Angel Luis Gomez, President of the Spanish Federation for Blind Sports (FEDC), will make the draw at the Colegio Sagrado Corazon.
Live coverage will be available from 1pm (CET) at the official website www.madrid.blindfootballworldcup.com which will also be launched on Monday.
Madrid 2018 gets underway on 7 June with the Opening Ceremony and the first group stage match. The quarter finals and play-offs begin on 13 June with the final taking place on 17 June. As well as the title on offer, the competition is also an important step on the road to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
All 44 matches will be held at the Colegio Sagrado Corazon which has capacity for 400 fans. Entry will be free to spectators.
Brazil are the favourites, having won four consecutive Paralympic titles and three successive world titles. Copa America champions Argentina, African champions Morocco and Asian title holders China also highlight the field.
The competition will be the biggest in history with six teams qualifying for the first time. Mexico, Costa Rica, Mali, European champions Russia*, Thailand and Iran will all make their debuts.
The 2018 IBSA Blind Football World Championships are being organised by FEDC and the Spanish National Organisation for the Blind (ONCE).
*Editor's note: The International Paralympic Committee suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee on 7 August 2016 for its inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code (to which it is also a signatory). As a result of the suspension, Russian athletes cannot enter IPC sanctioned events or competitions, including the Paralympic Games.
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