The UEFA European Under-17 Championship consists of three distinct stages: the qualifying round, the elite round and the final tournament. The format changed for 2014/15 with the expansion of the final tournament from eight to 16 teams.
The qualifying round, played in autumn, is made up of 13 groups of four countries playing in one-venue mini-tournaments. The top two from each pool progress alongside the five third-placed sides with the best record against the leading pair in their groups.
In the elite round, held in early spring, those 31 qualifiers plus the top seed – given a bye this far – compete in eight mini-tournament groups of four. The group winners and seven runners-up with the best record against the teams first and third in their section advance to the finals to join the hosts.
In the final tournament the contenders are split into four groups of four, with the front two from each proceeding to the knockout phase.
Further details, including the criteria for separating sides that finish level on points in a group, or after 80 minutes in a match, can be found in the official competition regulations.
Azerbaijan holds the UEFA European Under-17 Championship from 5 to 21 May 2016. The 15 sides to join the hosts will be decided by the elite round in the spring, with the finals featuring four groups of four, the top two in each progressing to the knockout phase. The draw will be on 8 April.
The tournament will be the first UEFA youth finals staged by Azerbaijan, though Baku was the venue for the 2014 UEFA Futsal Cup finals and has also been selected to hold four UEFA EURO 2020 fixtures, including a quarter-final. Azerbaijan also hosted the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup.
The Azerbaijan U17 team will be the first to represent the nation in any UEFA football final tournament. Azerbaijan did play at UEFA Futsal EURO 2010, 2012 and 2014, and have qualified for the 2016 finals.
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