France claim World Cup play-off seeding unfair

France’s national team coach, Didier Deschamps (R), and French captain Hugo Lloris. Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

France’s national team coach, Didier Deschamps (R), and French captain Hugo Lloris. Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

 

France believe the seeding system is unfair for the World Cup play-offs in November and plan to ask soccer’s ruling body Fifa to review it ahead of next week’s draw.

World and European champions Spain are three points ahead in Group I and host Georgia in their final qualifier today when second-placed France, who look certain to go through to the play-offs, play Finland.

The play-off seeds will be determined by Fifa rankings and 25th-placed France face a likely meeting with another big footballing nation.

France believe the system is flawed because fewer ranking points were available in five-nation Group I while the other sections had six teams.

“We’re going to contact [Fifa],” French federation president Noel Le Graet told the radio station RMC. “There is a little injustice between the group of five and the groups of six.

“Our rivals from other groups have been able to score more points . . . that’s a fact.”

Asked if he had discussed the issue with Le Graet, coach Didier Deschamps said he was not aware of a potential appeal.

“I don’t know if my president will bring the case,” he said. “I wouldn’t go that far in saying there’s an injustice but the fact is that we are sanctioned.”

Captain Hugo Lloris also found it hard for a team who won the 1998 World Cup and reached the final in 2006 not to be seeded although he recognised it was up to the players to improve the rankings.

“France should be seeded because of their history,” he said.