Scots urge Uefa to expand European finals

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The Scottish Football Association is attempting to persuade Uefa to expand the European Championships from 16 to 24 teams. It has submitted a proposal for next month's Uefa's Congress to consider the expansion and has been supported by the Republic of Ireland, plus the FAs of Sweden and Latvia.

The increase would mean almost half of Uefa's 52 member countries getting to the finals. The Uefa chief executive, Lars-Christer Olsson, said that if there was support, the changes could affect Euro 2012, to be held in either Italy, the Ukraine and Poland or Croatia and Hungary. The last expansion took place for Euro 96, which was in England, when the finals went from eight teams to 16. From 1960 to 1976 it was a mini-tournament of four sides.

The Congress will have to consider the disadvantages of a 24-team tournament which in past World Cups has had unsatisfactory systems for reducing numbers to a last eight.

Meanwhile, Uefa has been forced to accept Gibraltar as a provisional member of European football despite fierce opposition from Spain. A meeting of Uefa's executive committee in Nyon, Switzerland, yesterday decided that it had no choice but to admit the Gibraltar FA after a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. A final decision will now be taken by the Uefa Congress.

After profits from European club competitions exceeded expectations, Uefa is to distribute an extra £700,000 each to the clubs in this season's Champions' League group stages and an extra £70,000 to the 80 clubs that were in the first round of the Uefa Cup.

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