Euro Expansion Is Welcomed By Wales
Monday, 30th Jun 2008 08:30
Wales have welcomed a likely expansion to the European Championship to 24 teams
It will now just take a rubber stamping of the proposal in September – believed to be a formality – to see the expansion of the tournament that was won last night by a single Fernando Torres goal for Spain.And the move – although welcomed by Wales – will spark debate across Europe as to whether it will reduce the quality of the tournament rather than increase it.
Many pundits have stated that the advantage the Euros have over the World Cup is that it is generally only strong sides that make the finals with very few whipping boys. However, others have counter argued that allowing as many nations as possible to compete will strengthen the effect of the competition which in the long run will benefit some of the fringe nations who never quite make the finals.
But whatever your view on that front, the news was welcomed at FAW HQ especially as they were one of the nations heavily backing the proposal.
Speaking to the Western Mail, David Collins said “This is great news.“It has been 16 teams for many years and, with 53 associated countries, it is very hard to qualify for the smaller countries in Europe.
“But this now gives everybody a better chance for playing in such a fantastic event.”
“Qualification will be the same amount of groups,” said Collins. “But whether a third-placed team goes through or a play-off system comes into play will be decided if the proposal is passed in September.
“Judging by the response at meetings with the other associations we have had, though, while the tournament has been going on, there will be little, if any, opposition to this proposal.”
UEFA President Michel Platini added “Remember, I won the Euros in 1984 when there were only eight teams.“It is not certain it was better with eight teams than 16 or that 16 is better than 24 or 32.“I am not worried about the quality by increasing the number of teams.
“Countries like England, Denmark, Scotland, Ireland, Belgium, Serbia, Ukraine and Bulgaria all have the ability to participate in a European Championship.“Would they reduce the quality of the Euro? I believe they have the quality to take part.
“There are teams that could be at the Euros and even enhance the quality of the competition.”
Photo: Action Images
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