France Win Right to Host Euro 2016
Sunday, 30th May 2010 at 05:09am
1984 and 2000 European champions France has won the right to host the 2016 European Championships, beating off rival bids from Italy and Turkey.
The result was announced by former France star Michel Platini after the draw was made in Geneva on Friday, and France's success means the country becomes the first team to host the European Championships three times after staging the competition in 1960 and 1984.
The Italian bid was eliminated after the first round of voting and just a solitary vote separated France and Turkey.
The 2016 tournament will consist of 24 teams, playing 51 matches for the first time as UEFA look to expand the format acfter Euro 2012.
It is believed the struggles currently afflicting the joint bid of Ukraine and Poland as they prepare to host Euro 2012 worked in France's favour as UEFA officials were reluctant to award the finals to a country that had never hosted a major tournament before.
France legend Zinedine Zidane and current President Nikolas Sarkozy were in Geneva to support the bid and the French government has pledged almost 1.5 billion to build and improve stadia.
"This is a beautiful day for us," said Jean-Pierre Escalettes, president of the French Football Federation.
"It is a moment of intense emotion to know that in 2016 France will welcome European football and will fulfil its promises," he added.