France named as hosts for Euro 2016

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The Independent Online

France were today named by UEFA as the hosts of the 2016 European Championships.

The vote by UEFA's executive committee saw France win the Euro 2016 contest ahead of Turkey and Italy.

It will be the first time that 24 countries will contest the tournament, up from 16 in 2012, and will see a major tournament return to France after the World Cup in 1998.

France beat Turkey by just a single vote after Italy were eliminated in the first round of voting.

Jean-Pierre Escalettes, president of the French Football Federation, said: "This is a beautiful day for us.

"It is a moment of intense emotion to know that in 2016 France will welcome European football and will fulfil its promises.

"What counts for us is to have the full confidence of UEFA and this trust will not be betrayed.

"We also understand the frustration of Italy and Turkey - particularly Turkey, who lost by a single vote after bidding for a third time."

France last hosted the European Championships in 1984 when they won the tournament by a side captained by current UEFA president Michel Platini.

Platini admitted the contest had put him in a difficult situation - he is French, but of Italian descent and enjoyed his best playing years at Juventus.

Platini told a news conference in Geneva: "The position of the president of UEFA being French is complex and let me say we have had three exceptional bids.

"It was a very narrow decision - the work done by all three federations was outstanding, and I would like to congratulate the French.

"It has been a complicated situation from the outset and I believe there is a sigh of relief from French football, and they can now upgrade all their stadia to make them up to the same standard as other countries in Europe.

"It was not an easy situation for me - I am French, my name is Italian and I have many friends in Turkey. It was the same for Senes Erzik, the [Turkish] first vice-president of UEFA.

"But UEFA has proved once again that we have democracy."

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