Uefa president Michel Platini admits expanded Euros will be 'less interesting'

Euro 2016 will see number of teams increase from 16 to 24

Michel Platini has admitted that UEFA faces a challenge over potentially dull matches in the qualifying tournament for the expanded Euro 2016.

The decision to raise the number of finalists from 16 to 24 countries means that almost half the 53 European nations will qualify for the tournament in France.

UEFA president Platini defended the decision but conceded that it will mean some "less interesting matches" with many of the qualifying groups seeing three of the six teams going through - and that is an issue for the European governing body which is now selling the TV rights centrally.

Platini told a news conference in Sofia, Bulgaria: "This was a decision of the UEFA Congress to go to 24 teams after a request made by Ireland and Scotland - vast majority of national associations wanted us to go to 24.

"I thought about it a great deal to see if the quantity would affect the quality and I think that we could have 24 very good teams in Europe more or less of the same calibre so I don't think it will change the quality.

"The only small challenge has to do with the qualifiers as there will be some less interesting matches. There will be groups of six with two or three going through so the qualifying will be less decisive but the tournament will be just as interesting."

Europe has 13 places for World Cup finals and Platini said that having almost twice as many for the European Championships was "extremely important for the general happiness of the national associations in terms of promoting football in their countries".

UEFA's executive committee today agreed the bidding rules and timetable for Euro 2020, which is being held in 13 different countries across the continent.

Cities can bid for either three group matches and a quarter-final, or the semi-finals and final. The full bid regulations will be published on April 26, bids submitted by September 11, bid dossiers submitted by April 25 next year and a decision the following September.

The FA has said it will bid for Wembley to host the semi-finals and final, while Cardiff, Glasgow and Dublin are all set to bid for group matches.

The candidates for UEFA's executive committee were also confirmed and Manchester United's outgoing chief executive David Gill will be one of nine candidates for eight seats. Six of these are standing for re-election with the new candidates being Gill, Germany's Wolfgang Niersbach and Portugal's Fernando Gomes.

UEFA also announced agreements with the European game's stakeholders on tackling racism and match-fixing.

The Professional Football Strategy Council, (PFSC) an umbrella group comprising UEFA associations, European leagues, clubs and players' representatives, unanimously agreed to call for stricter sanctions. Clubs and associations whose fans or players are found guilty of racist behaviour will also have to prove what actions they are taking to tackle such discrimination in the future. On match-fixing, Platini vowed there would be "no mercy" for those found guilty.

He said: "If it is a player involved they will never play football again. We will have no mercy on those that breach these rules whether players, referees or football leaders - we are defending our game here. Our policy is zero tolerance and we will not budge."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones