As we’ve noted in our historical series, the European Championship (originally European Nations’ Cup) started out on a small-scale in the 1960s: just four teams played in the finals, allowing an exciting knock-out tournament as qualifiers.
Now Uefa is considering expanding the Championship finals to take in 24 teams, greater than the number of teams that played in the entire 1960 qualifying campaign.
This is a terrible idea. I’m sure television executives are still shedding tears over England’s failure to qualify for Euro 2008, but letting everyone in bar San Marino in the future will make the qualifying tournament a joke, and fill the finals with tedious matches.
Of course, Uefa would make more money out of a larger tournament, with added ticket sales, and television/marketing revenue, and Platini can sell it as a benefit to the smaller nations. Here’s hoping they restrain themselves.
Photo credit: Antoon’s Foobar on Flickr.