World football body, FIFA has reassured football fans that it will not manipulate the world cup draw on Friday in Russia to favour certain teams.
The draw ceremony gives Russia the chance to showcase the cities and stadiums that will host the 32 teams next June and July.
Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter last year claimed that some European football draws have been fixed in the past with the use of hot and cold balls.
They’re all the same; they don’t feel any different, they don’t look any different with the exception of the red balls.
UEFA called the claims “completely absurd, and Blatter stressed heated balls “didn’t exist” at FIFA draws.
Russia was drawn against Peru in the only rehearsal filmed before the media on Wednesday.
“There’s no truth to that,” said FIFA director of competitions Chris Unger, in response to a question about heated balls.
“They’re all the same; they don’t feel any different, they don’t look any different with the exception of the red balls, which are there for a purpose. It’s entirely random and by chance how the groups get formed at the end,” he added.
Former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan, who will help draw the groups, also attended a rehearsal.
“South American teams are very strong. Every team is tough. I think it’s going to be like previous World Cups. I hope Uruguay can win!” said Forlan, who was capped more than 100 times for Uruguay.
In a new simplified format, the teams will be placed in pots one to four from highest to lowest FIFA ranking with the exception of Russia, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, who are automatically in pot one alongside the top seeds.
Each pot will be emptied one by one into eight groups which will contain four teams each. Two non-European teams from the same confederation cannot be in the same group to avoid geographic clashes.
With 14 qualified European teams there cannot be more than two European teams in the same group.