|FIBA Europe President Olafur Rafnsson addressing the audience at the Draw|
History was made in Freising, Germany on Saturday when FIBA Europe held the inaugural draws for EuroBasket 2015 1st Qualification Round and EuroBasket Women 2015 1st Qualification Round.
In order to provide more competitive games for nations not participating in next summer's EuroBasket tournaments, the 1st Qualification Round has now been introduced with 27 competing teams across the two Qualification tournaments.
The winner of the respective tournaments will earn direct qualification to EuroBasket 2015, with the Men's Championship set to take place in Ukraine, whilst Hungary and Romania will co-host EuroBasket Women 2015.
Speaking at the Draw, FIBA Europe President Olafur Rafnsson talked about the importance of the 1st Qualification Round.
"This [1st Qualification Round] gives all the countries involved the opportunity to win qualification to EuroBasket and EuroBasket Women 2015, while at the same time making sure the team can make progress through more competitive fixtures."
The Men's 1st Qualification Round will see teams divided into four groups, playing every other team drawn in their group at home and away. The winner of each group then qualifies for the play-off stage, where they will play semi-finals and finals on a home-and-away basis.
In Group A Bulgaria face Romania and Iceland; Group B will see the Netherlands taking on Estonia and Portugal; Switzerland take on neighbours Austria, Luxembourg and Denmark in Group C; whilst Belarus, Hungary and the Slovak Republic make up Group D.
The Women's 1st Qualification Round will be run in a traditional group-play format. The winner of each group then qualifies for the play-off stage, where they will play semi-finals and finals on a home-and-away basis.
In Group A Estonia were drawn with Greece, the Netherlands and Luxembourg; Group B consists of Bulgaria, Slovenia and Switzerland; Belgium, Poland and Finland make up Group C; whilst Portugal, Israel, Germany and F.Y.R. of Macedonia will fight it out in Group D.