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The bidding process to host the UEFA European Championship final round in 2016 can now officially get under way after the UEFA Executive Committee, meeting in Nyon on Thursday, approved the bid regulations for the tournament – the first EURO final round to be held with 24 teams.
The bidding procedure is divided into three phases. An initial phase begins next Monday, and any of UEFA's 53 member associations interested in bidding must signal their intention to UEFA by 9 March next year. UEFA may then decide to create a short list of three to four candidates. The bid dossier development phase will follow, with UEFA distributing the tournament requirements and the bid dossier template, which must be completed and returned to UEFA by 15 February 2010.
The third phase will involve evaluation, with the European body making official visits to the various bidders from March 2010. The UEFA administration and experts appointed by UEFA will then examine the bid dossiers and prepare a written report on each one, before passing these to UEFA's National Team Competitions Committee, with a final decision expected by the UEFA Executive Committee at the end of May 2010.
Invitations to bid start now
Joint bids of two member associations are permitted, and under exceptional circumstances, joint bids comprised of three member associations may also be considered. "The invitation to bid starts now," said UEFA General Secretary David Taylor. "We are at the stage now of issuing papers which will invite national associations to formally bid and to give them some indications as to what they are actually bidding for," said Mr Taylor. "The detailed bidding requirements will not be issued until all the [interested bidders] have been submitted to us. This is really just opening the door about the process and timetable."
Nine stadiums ideal
With regard to the number of stadiums required for the 24-team final round in 2016, Mr Taylor said: "The view of UEFA is that, ideally, nine stadiums are expected to be provided." UEFA's competitions director Giorgio Marchetti said: "We think that nine gives the right balance between the needs of the organisation, tournament and the host country or countries." He added that bidding associations could also propose three additional stadiums as back-up.
Women's Cup changes
The UEFA Women's Cup will also have a new name and format from 2009/10. The competition's new name will be the UEFA Women's Champions League, with the final taking place over one leg, on the Thursday prior to the UEFA Champions League final – which will be played on Saturdays from 2010. The final will be staged in the same city, but in a different stadium. The UEFA Women's Champions League will feature one qualifying round of mini-tournaments and will be followed by knockout rounds of 32 and 16 teams, with quarter and semi-finals leading up to the one-match final.
The Executive Committee was told of the positive reaction to the refereeing experiment with five officials, tested at recent European Under-19 qualifying tournaments in Hungary, Slovenia and Cyprus. World body FIFA will draw up a report to be presented to football's lawmakers, the International FA Board, at its next annual general meeting in Northern Ireland next spring.
Goodwill financial compensation
The UEFA Executive Committee also took note that the goodwill financial compensation offered by UEFA after the loss of signal during the UEFA EURO 2008™ semi-final between Germany and Turkey in June, has been welcomed and accepted by the broadcast partners. The committee approved the appointment of Denmark as host of the 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Championship final round, and decided that Ekaterinburg, Russia, will host the UEFA Futsal Cup final four to determine the eventual winner of the 2008/09 competition. Finally, Israel will hold the UEFA Congress in 2010.
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