The qualification path for the 2017 IBSA Blind Football European Championships has been outlined for the tournament in Berlin next year. Ten teams will take part in the tournament next August with the first eight places already decided IBSA announced on Monday.
The first eight qualifying places will go to the top eight teams from the European Championships held in Hereford in 2015. That will see Turkey, Russia, Spain, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Belgium all qualify automatically for the tournament.
The two teams that miss out from the 2015 tournament are Portugal and Greece and both will now have to go through a qualifying tournament. That qualifying tournament will award the final two places in the European Championships for 2017.
That tournament will be open to the two 2015 teams along with any IBSA affiliated team that meets the relevant criteria. Presumably one of those criteria is being a European nation, although it would not be unheard of for a non-European team to compete to make the tournament stronger, Australia played in the CP Football European Championship recently for instance.
That tournament is tentatively scheduled for April 2017, three months ahead of the final tournament that this qualifying tournament will finalize. The tournament host will be announced on the first of December, with the teams required to have expressed their interest in participating by the 15th of November.