Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Euro expansion will dilute quality
by Ian Plenderleith, September 26th, 2008 10AM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

[EUROPE] More games, more revenue and less quality. That will be the effective consequence of UEFA's decision, expected Friday, to expand the European Championships from 16 to 24 countries, starting with the 2016 tournament.

UEFA's executive committee discussed the matter on the first day of its two-day meeting in Bordeaux Thursday, and Franz Beckenbauer, vice chairman of UEFA's development and technical assistance committee, confirmed that the proposal would be rubber-stamped. "Yes, for sure it's going to be 24 teams," Beckenbauer said, according to the BBC. "The European Championships will not lose any quality by that."

Quite how he can make that judgment that eight years in advance is anybody's guess. Euro 2008 in Switzerland and Austria was generally regarded as the best tournament in soccer terms since the 1984 edition in France, when the tournament consisted of just eight teams. It seems like an ill-thought decision to water it down just a few months later, but all 53 European nations are reportedly in favor.

Unsurprisingly, the countries that didn't qualify for Euro 2008 are hungry for a slice of the revenue. A country like England will see the expansion as insurance against the debacle of its last qualifying campaign. The original proposal came from Scotland and Ireland, neither of whom qualified for Euro 2008, but that represent exactly the kind of soccer nation that would benefit from expansion. Provided, of course, that countries like Belarus, Estonia and Montenegro haven't caught up with them by 2016.

Scotland and Ireland's joint bid to stage Euro 2008 failed, and once the tournament takes in 24 teams they will have no realistic chance of hosting the championship. In fact, only Spain, England, Italy, France, Germany and Russia will likely be able to manage that now, while other countries would have to team up with at least one other nation, possibly two, to launch a joint bid. And even then, as Switzerland and Austria showed, there would be a scarcity of stadiums with a large enough capacity to accommodate the expected demand.

The committee is also due to rule Friday on Ukraine's suitability to co-host the next tournament with Poland, in 2012. The eastern European country is beset with infrastructure problems and political upheaval.


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
49ers and NBA Kings ante up on Sac MLS bid    
Sacramento Republic FC ownership continues to grow with the announcement that San Francisco 49ers owner and ...
U.S. women head to Europe without three stars    
Four months ahead of the 2015 Women's World Cup, the USA heads to Europe for friendlies ...
MLS Live and MLS Direct Kick will return    
Out-of-market packages MLS Live, MLS's subscription streaming service, and MLS Direct Kick, MLS's cable and satellite ...
What They're Saying: Paul Rogers    
"Did I want to pull out [of the U.S. team] this close to a World Cup? ...
MLS Trade Central: Agudelo returns to Revs    
The New England Revolution got a boost for its MLS title hopes when 22-year-old Juan Agudelo ...
Chelsea vs. Man City: Showdown At Stamford Bridge     
On Saturday, two of the most expensive teams money can buy will square off in a ...
What They're Saying: Bob Gansler    
"I'm doing fine. I recovered quite quickly, to their surprise. I was able to leave (the ...
Video Pick: Back-heel volley golazo from Chelsea youngster     
Kasey Palmer, an 18-year-old midfielder, scored this beautiful goal in U-21 action against West Ham.
Obituary: Milton Aimi    
Milton Aimi played a variety of roles in spurring the growth of soccer in Texas and ...
Again, the USA wilts in the second half    
The USA's performance in a 3-2 loss to Chile on Wednesday raises lots of questions and ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives