Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World 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
Switzerland-USA: Klinsmann seeks chemistry     
Coming off a 3-2 loss to Denmark, which featured another last-game collapse by the Americans, Coach ...
What They're Saying: Thomas Rongen    
"On the highest level, I'm not so sure that Jurgen Klinsmann is the right person for ...
MLS Power Rankings: Gritty FC Dallas tie keeps it on top    
Down to 10 men early in the game, FC Dallas held out for a 0-0 tie ...
U-17 striker Haji Wright joins New York Cosmos    
The NASL's New York Cosmos have signed 17-year-old Southern California product Haji Wright, who started at ...
What They're Saying: CMN Sports    
"As an organization, CMN Sports takes pride in providing some of the most exhilarating soccer matches ...
Road to Russia: Belize survives Caymans' scare    
Belize, Nicaragua, Bermuda and Dominica wrapped up series victories in the first round of World Cup ...
Video Pick: A 60-yard goal from young Belgian     
Marco Weymans, a 17-year-old Belgian who plays for Dutch club PSV, scored from his own half ...
Europe in a Nutshell: Big week for the British Isles     
An international break for Euro 2016 qualifying in the pursuit of Paris: Reviewing an interesting week ...
Freddie Adu signs with Finnish club KuPS    
Freddy Adu has signed a one-year contract with Finnish club KuPS, the 11th club in 12 ...
Morris replaces Johannsson on U.S. roster    
The second forward is the snake-bitten position on the U.S. national team's trip to Europe. After ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives