Italy And France To Host 24 Team Euro 2016?

UEFA president Michel Platini has revealed plans to increase the number of participants at the 2016 European Championships from 16 to 24 and La Repubblica claims the tournament will be hosted by Italy and France in a joint effort...
The UEFA chief believes it will be a good idea to stretch the number of countries taking place so that football at the highest levels will benefit the whole continent as well as give weaker teams a better chance of qualifying.

Platini has given his reasons behind the desision as he explains the way forward for international football in Europe.

"When, at the 2007 UEFA Congress in Dusseldorf, a few national associations raised the idea of expanding the European Football Championship final round from 16 to 24 participants, I was rather sceptical, I have to say. However, Euro 2008 convinced me that it was a good idea," Platini told UEFA's official website.

"Once again, the tournament illustrated the extraordinary passion generated by national team football and gave rise to such a fantastic party atmosphere that I felt it was only right for the championship to be extended to more countries – to let even more supporters take part and to spread the excitement and party atmosphere far and wide across the continent.

"I also felt that the emotion of the tournament should be heightened by adding a direct knockout round for the last 16 in the competition and by ensuring that all the group matches, or the vast majority of them at least, would be crucial, by allowing the best third-placed teams through to the next round."

La Repubblica claims Platini wants the 2016 tournament to be hosted in a joint venture between two great football nations in Italy and France.

Reports suggest the plan is to have five stadiums in each country for the group stages and final knock-out rounds with the final being held in Paris or Rome.

The only problem would be the stadiums in Italy. The country is trying hard to fix up the state of their football infrastructure and a number of top clubs have already begun to work on new stadia. Juventus just one of the few who are moving and shaking.

Italy lost their Euro 2012 bid as a result of the poor quality stadiums and the authorities will be keen to avoid this from happening again in future. Violence and hooliganism may also pose a problem.

Platini would be keen on the idea of having 2016 shared between his native France and Italy where he enjoyed some great moments as a player.

Salvatore Landolina