August 25, 2012 00:00 By Kitinan Sanguansak The Nation
The organisers of the Fifa Futsal World Cup were left red-faced after the draw of the tournament, which will kick off in November in Thailand, was marred by confusion over rules, forcing the officials to make a revised draw.
Four-time champions Brazil were originally drawn in Group C alongside Asian winners Japan, Portugal and Columbia, but the rules stated that two teams from the same continent were unable to be in the same group with the exception of Europe, which have seven participating teams in the 24-team event. The officials only became aware of the mistake after the initial draw was completed. After a delay of about 10 minutes, the official, who conducted the draw, returned to the stage and explained the error that happened in the procedures.
African champions Libya were then assigned to Group C in place of Columbia in what was widely regarded as the most difficult-looking section, while the Colombians moved to Group F with Russia, Solomon Islands and Guatemala.
Hosts Thailand were in Group A which also features Ukraine, Costa Rica and Paraguay. Group B consists of two-time champions Spain, Iran, Panama and Morocco. Argentina were slotted in Group D alongside Mexico, Italy and Australia, while Egypt, Serbia, Czech and Kuwait were in Group E.
Thirachai Wuthitham, the chairman of the National Futsal Development committee, reckoned that Thailand were in difficult group, given that Costa Rica are the Concacaf champions, while Ukraine and Paraguay stand at the eighth and ninth spots respectively in the world ranking, both above the Thai side in 11th place.