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Colour me unexcited that a major international tournament is again going to France in 2016, in what will be their third in 32 years (and a third European championship in total):
France were named as hosts of Euro 2016 by UEFA president Michel Platini here on Friday, the French bid beating off strong opposition from the two other candidates – Turkey and Italy.
France prevailed with seven of the 13 votes cast by UEFA’s executive committee members in the second round of voting, edging Turkey by one vote.
As I mentioned a couple of days ago, Turkey would have been a far more adventurous choice and would have offered considerably greater potential benefit for the development of the sport. A disappointing play-it-safe choice by UEFA, and a third successive disappointment for Turkey.
Of note, though, is that the tournament will be the first to feature 24 teams in the finals; when the first UEFA European Championship finals were hosted by France in 1960, only four teams participated, and just seventeen entered at the original preliminary stage.
By 1984, when France hosted the tournament for a second time (and won it, thanks to the genius of current UEFA head Michel Platini), the tournament had eight teams, having been expanded in 1980.
In 1996, the tournament’s size was doubled again to 16 teams. And next, an unwieldy and unnecessarily large number of 24 countries will take part in France at the 2016 tournament.
Full calendar for the Euro 2016 available here.