Contested every four years, the UEFA European Championship has been showcasing the continent's top talent since its inception as the UEFA European Nations Cup in 1960.
For the first time, 24 sides will contest UEFA EURO 2016 in France and the qualifying format is yet to be determined.
However, the 'Week of Football' concept for the European qualifiers for UEFA EURO 2016 (and the 2018 FIFA World Cup) has been approved, with matches taking place from Thursday to Tuesday. Kick-off times will be largely set at 18.00CET and 20.45CET on Saturdays and Sundays and 20.45CET for Thursdays, Fridays, Mondays and Tuesdays. On double-header matchweeks, teams will play on Thursday and Sunday or Friday and Monday or Saturday and Tuesday.
Speaking in April 2013, UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino said: "Fans will have the opportunity to view more matches than ever before. The fact that we spread the European qualifiers over several days as opposed to all teams playing on the same day will also ensure a better visibility for the competition. Each day of the 'Week of Football' will have eight to ten matches as opposed to 20-30 matches on the same day."
For UEFA EURO 2012, when 16 sides were in the finals, the qualifying round was made up of nine groups of five or six teams, who contested home and away fixtures. The section winners and runners-up with the best record against the top five in their group progress automatically. The remaining eight second-placed sides contest two-legged play-offs, with the victors joining the hosts to complete the lineup for the final tournament.
The regulations for the UEFA European Championship are initially drawn up by the UEFA Administration before being submitted to the UEFA National Team Competitions Committee. They are then forwarded upon that committee's approval to the UEFA Executive Committee for ratification.
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