NYON: Euro 2016 hosts France will play in the competition’s qualifying competition but with a guarantee of their place in the finals secure.
The rule change from UEFA means the draw on February 23 will feature nine pools of six teams, yet the games will be “centralised friendlies” with no points awarded.
The top seeds will be Spain, Germany, Holland, Italy, England, Portugal, Greece, Russia and Bosnia.
UEAF’s new rule is outlined in Euro 2016 regulation article 21.02, which reads: “The teams drawn into the group of five teams will have France added to their group for the purpose of playing.”
England are expected to to placed in the top-tier Pot One after their unbeaten record in qualification for the 2014 World Cup.
Gibraltar, accepted as a separate Uefa member state after winning a court ruling, will be in in the draw for the first time. They will be drawn in a separate group from Spain for diplomatic reasons.