The next European Championship
will not suffer a drop in quality when it expands to 24 teams in
2016 from the current 16-team format, UEFA President Michael
Platini said on Monday.
"Twenty-four is OK... I think it's OK. Eight good teams to
add. It's not a problem of quality," Platini told reporters on
Monday, looking ahead to France 2016 after giving a glowing
assessment of the ongoing tournament in Poland and Ukraine.
Euro 2012 has provided plenty of goals and entertainment in
the 22 matches to date and approaching the end of the group
stage is yet to feature a goalless draw.
Fears have been raised that adding eight teams to the
tournament will see middle and lower-ranked sides qualifying and
resorting to overly defensive tactics, looking to avoid
humiliating defeats at the hands of the major European powers.
"We can have eight more teams as good as the rest, and also
have a fantastic round of 16," added Platini.
"It's very important for the [additional] countries that
qualify. It is good for the national associations and their
"The sponsors are present because they are proud to
Platini said more teams meant "more games in stadiums which
leads to better investment".
The Frenchman pointed to the examples of Ukraine cities Lviv
and Kharkiv, which invested millions in stadiums and
infrastructure but are staging just three group matches apiece,
as an example of where host cities in future tournaments will
benefit from more games.
"How can we ask to a city like Lviv to build an airport, to
build a big stadium, and after three games it is finished for
Three-times European champions Germany have said they have
"mixed feelings" over the expansion of the tournament.
The European Championship started as a four-team tournament
in 1960, expanding to eight in 1980 and 16 in 1996.
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