It’s 1st April but this is no joke.

We have already reported which 14 national teams have applied for Men’s European Championship B group qualifiers in 2015. Among those 14 teams, there are 8 seeded teams and 6 unseeded teams. As a result, Italy and Great Britain, being the two top seeded teams, are automatic participants of the two B groups in 2016. The other 6 seeded teams will host the 6 unseeded teams for the remaining 6 spots in the two B groups. The matchups for those 6 open spots in the two B groups were revealed today and they are:

Czechia – Poland
Serbia – Hungary
Switzerland – Slovakia
Netherlands – Belgium
Spain – Israel
Russia – Norway

Guided by the principle of geographic distance while composing the matchups, the Competition Committee has started working with the notion that Israel and Norway are located far enough from the seeded teams closest to them to exclude bus travel from their travel options. Since plane tickets are not necessarily cheaper for the closer geographic distances, their matchups will be the seeded teams furthest away from all other unseeded teams. The other matchups are composed according to the combined shortest geographic distance.

The time frame for playing all games is from 15 August to 31 October 2015. The games will be played in cities with the venues closest to the visiting teams, or capitol cities. Home teams to whom the visiting teams are flying by plane will play their games in the cities with major international airports.

Entry forms for applying have been sent to all the federations and the deadline is 1 May 2015. If any team doesn’t enter the competition, the opposing team they are paired up to play with, will be placed in the B group automatically. If neither of the teams paired up to play a qualifying game enter the competition, after the deadline the Competition Committee will make all new matchups from the teams which have applied.