UEFA to consider 24-team EURO

The UEFA Congress has backed a Scottish Football Association proposal for a feasibility study into an expanded 24-team UEFA European Championship.

UEFA will consider whether to make the UEFA European Championship final round a 24-team competition after its member associations backed a proposal for an immediate feasibility study into the tournament's expansion. The vote was made at the XXXI Ordinary UEFA Congress in Dusseldorf, Germany on Friday.

Target 2012
The UEFA European Championship final round was expanded from eight to 16 teams prior to EURO '96™ in England and the UEFA Executive Committee, which will undertake the study, will investigate whether a 24-team event could now be introduced at UEFA EURO 2012™.

Greater meaning
The Scottish Football Association proposal came with the support of the Football Association of Ireland, Latvian Football Federation and Swedish Football Association. It argued that expanding the EURO would give greater meaning to the qualifying round. In addition, a 24-team tournament would be more attractive to sponsors and television companies as well as spreading the distribution of revenues among a greater number of countries.

Montenegro voted in
The Football Association of Montenegro (MNE), meanwhile, was awarded full membership of UEFA following a vote by the member associations. However, the Football Association of Gibraltar's (GFA) bid for membership was rejected. Both the MNE and GFA had been granted provisional membership by the UEFA Executive Committee last year, pending the decision of the congress.

Statutes amended
The congress approved a series of amendments to UEFA's statutes, including a reinforcement of UEFA's objectives; a definition of fair play; stipulations dealing with UEFA's relationship with European football's stakeholders; and a more comprehensive definition of associations' rights and duties. It also approved UEFA's financial report for 2005-06 and budget for 2007-08, as well as the HatTrick programme for 2008-12 which will make €450m available to the member associations.