The Euro 2016, will be the 15th European Championship for national football teams sanctioned by UEFA. France was chosen to host on the Euro 2016 on 28 May 2010. The tournament will be expanded from 16 to 24 teams in 2016 after the plan was unanimously agreed by senior officials of all 53 UEFA members.
Four bids came before the deadline on March the 9th 2009 namely Italy, France, Turkey and Norway+Sweden as a joint bid. Norway+Sweden eventually pulled out in December 2009.
The host was selected on 28 May 2010:
There was controversy concerning the decision to stage the Euro 2016 in France. After the choice was announced, responding to the question "During Sepp Blatter's term Euro 2008 was awarded to Switzerland, during your term Euro 2016 is awarded to France, is this the new trend?" Michel Platini answered "When there is a Turkish president, then you can host a major tournament".
Guus Hiddink, who was Turkey manager, was also highly critical of the decision, stating: "This proves once again that in top-flight football the game is run by politics", and "UEFA gave the Euro 2016 finals to France, who have already had the tournament twice and they also had the World Cup finals in 1998. This does not feel right. I get the feeling that the actual bid was about other things."
The format of the final tournament will consist of six groups of four teams, followed by a round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final. The top two from each group would qualify in addition to the four best third-ranked sides, the same system as was applied in the World Cups from 1986 to 1994. This format would generate a total of 51 to 52 games, compared with 31 now, to be played over a period of 29 to 31 days. UEFA's general secretary Gianni Infantino said that the new format was "not ideal" and that UEFA was not sure of the detail of the format.
With the expansion to 24 teams, middle-ranked countries have a much greater chance of qualifying for the finals than earlier.
52 teams will chase 23 finals places to join hosts France. The seeding pots would be formed on the basis of the UEFA national team coefficients, finalized after the completion of 2014 World Cup qualification, with the UEFA Euro 2012 champions automatically top seeded.
UEFA has not confirmed the format for the qualification, but Gianni Infantino stated in March 2012 that UEFA would review the qualification competition to ensure that it was not "boring". Russia were given a suspended six point reduction for qualifying as a result of fan violence in Poland during Euro 2012.
Initially, twelve stadiums were presented for the French bid, chosen on 28 May 2010. These venues were to be whittled down to nine by the end of May 2011, but it was suggested in June 2011 that eleven venues might be used. The French Football Federation had to choose which nine stadiums would actually be used. The choice for the first seven was undisputed - France's national stadium, the Stade de France, four newly constructed stadiums in Lille, Lyon, Nice and Bordeaux, and those of the biggest cities, Paris and Marseille. The last two remaining places, after Strasbourg opted out for financial reasons following relegation, were chosen to be Lens and Nancy in the first round of voting, instead of Saint-Étienne and Toulouse, chosen as reserve stadia. In June 2011, the number of host venues was increased to eleven because of the new tournament format which sees 24 teams taking part, instead of just 16. The decision means that the reserve cities of Toulouse and St-Étienne joined the list of hosts. However, in December 2011, Nancy announced its withdrawal from the tournament, after the stadium's renovation fell through, so ten host cities will now be used. Nantes and Montpellier, stadia used for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, were also not chosen.