It was the first time that teams from the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and East Germany participated, while Turkey could not send any club, since the Turkish FA failed to register Beşiktaş for the draw in time. Sevilla was invited despite having been runners-up in Spain the year before, as Spanish champions Real Madrid had already qualified as holders; the two Spanish sides met in the quarter-finals, the first time two sides from the same country played against each other in the competition.
The draw for the preliminary round took place at the headquarters of the French Football Federation in Paris on Tuesday, 23 July 1957. As title holders, Real Madrid received a bye, and the remaining 23 teams were grouped geographically into three pots. The first four teams drawn in each pot, and four more teams in pot 1, would play the preliminary round in September, while the remaining clubs received byes.