Euro 96 squads increase in size

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The Independent Online
There was good news for Terry Venables yesterday, but less pleasant tidings for another of Alan Sugar's bete noires, Jurgen Klinsmann. Venables has persuaded the other 15 Euro 96 countries to accept an increase in squad size to 22 players, but Germany failed to convince everybody that suspended players should be given an amnesty.

Klinsmann is one of several players who will miss their opening game because of suspensions incurred in the qualifying tournament. The appeal was opposed by both Italy and Scotland, with the latter's Jim Farry calling it "a charter for cheats".

Gerhard Aigner, general secretary of Uefa, European football's governing body, admitted at yesterday's Heathrow workshop that: "There are delegates strongly in favour of an amnesty and others strongly opposed."

Uefa's disciplinary committee will now consider the issue before it is put before the next executive meeting in Iceland in April. England kept a low profile on the subject, preferring to concentrate on squad size.

Assuming the decision is ratified in Iceland, Venables will have succeeded in increasing the squad from the original 20 to 22, including a reserve goalkeeper. He can now ensure almost every position is covered, which may help fringe members like Robbie Fowler or Alan Wright force their way into the squad. Their last chance to do so will be in late May, when England play matches in Hong Kong and China.

England are travelling half-way around the world to prepare for a tournament in their own country primarily to avoid the risk of hooligan trouble.

Security concerns may also be a factor in the delay in agreement between the English and Scottish FAs on ticket allocation for June's Wembley match. Turkey and Denmark have been given an extra 4,000 for their matches, and Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands have been awarded smaller increases. Glenn Kirton, the tournament director, said: "We have been able to increase the 7,000 basic, but not by much."

It is an impossible task. Even 70,000 extra would not have been enough. Expect Scotland to arrive with a squad of 22,000, all claiming to be Ally McCoist and expecting to sit on the bench.

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