UEFA Unveils Details on Euro 2016 Qualifying

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(WFI) UEFA has announced that the qualifying draw for Euro 2016 will take place in Nice on Feb. 23.

For the first time in UEFA European Championship history, 24 countries will contest the finals - up from 16 teams at Euro 2012 - with France already assured of their place as hosts.

The expanded format opens up more possibilities for the smaller nations among UEFA’s 53 member countries.

The draw that will determine the qualifying groups for Euro 2016 is held at the Palais des Congrès Acropolis.

The Euro 2016 qualifying competition will see matches played from Thursday to Tuesday. Kick-off times will mostly be set at 18.00CET and 20.45CET on Saturdays and Sundays, and at 20.45CET on other days.

UEFA confirmed that on double-header matchweeks, teams will play on Thursday and Sunday, or Friday and Monday, or Saturday and Tuesday.

The 15th edition of the European Championship marks a return to the competition's roots – the inaugural finals were held in France in 1960. It was the brainchild of UEFA's first general secretary, Frenchman Henri Delaunay – after whom the trophy is named. France also hosted the UEFA showpiece in 1984.

For Euro 2016, ten stadiums will stage games. New stadiums are completed or under construction in Lille, Nice, Bordeaux and Lyon, and renovations are under way in Marseille, Saint-Etienne, Toulouse, Lens and at the Parc des Princes in Paris.
The Stade de France in Saint-Denis will host the final on July 10 2016.

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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