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WCup seeds to be decided by world ranking

ZURICH (AP) - Top seeds in the 2014 World Cup groups will be host Brazil and the seven highest teams in the October rankings.

The system decided by FIFA's executive committee Friday means Belgium and Colombia are almost assured of being seeded in the Dec. 6 draw if they advance as expected this month. Both failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

The current top seven teams are Spain, Argentina, Germany, Italy, Colombia, Belgium and Uruguay. Brazil is ranked No. 8.

FIFA said the other three draw pots in the 32-team tournament will be determined by ``geographic and sports criteria.''

FIFA is using a simple reference to its world rankings and not weighing teams' performances at previous World Cups. The governing body will publish the next rankings Oct. 17.

In other decisions at the two-day board meeting that ended Friday:

-FIFA approved two measures to protect players' health. Cooling breaks after the 30th minute of each half in matches can be taken if temperatures rise above 89 degrees, and a defibrillator must be available at every international game.

-A further grant of $800,000 was made to create mini-fields for Syrian refugees in camps in neighboring Jordan.

-Iraq was refused permission to lift a ban on playing home international exhibitions because of security risks.

-Proposals to introduce age and term limits for soccer officials, including the FIFA presidency, will be overseen by executive committee member Theo Zwanziger of Germany. A decision is due at the 2014 FIFA Congress next June in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

-A task force to promote women's soccer will work on a proposal to establish a Club World Cup.

-An emergency management committee will run the Solomon Islands Football Federation and hold new elections.

The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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