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

News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'