The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has decided against expanding the European Championship – for now.
They will be sticking with 24 teams as the UK and Ireland jointly bid for the 2028 men’s tournament, Sky News understands.
The feasibility of enlarging the showpiece event to 32 nations had been explored by European football’s governing body.
But giving slots to more than half of UEFA‘s 55 countries at the quadrennial finals would have devalued qualifying or required an overhaul of the format to ensure matches remained appealing.
So, it’s understood that UEFA is now not planning to add another eight finalists after increasing from 16 to 24 teams at Euro 2016.
The UEFA members endorsed retaining a 24-team Euros at a meeting on Saturday – a stance that is now set to be proposed by the national teams’ committee for approval by the governing body’s ruling executive committee.
Saturday’s meetings of European football leaders took place in Frankfurt ahead of the draw on Sunday for qualifying for Euro 2024.
Before that tournament – which is being held across Germany – UEFA is planning votes in 2023 on the hosts of Euro 2028 and 2032.
The joint bid from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland is facing competition from Turkey for Euro 2028. Turkey is also in the contest for the 2032 edition against Italy.
Wembley staged the Euro 2020 final and seven other games in a pandemic-delayed competition played across the continent last year.
Despite disorder involving England fans ahead of losing the final, UEFA showed its backing for Wembley by staging a match there in June between European champions Italy and South American champions Argentina.
England also hosted the Women’s European Championship this summer – with England beating Germany in the final at Wembley.
The Women’s Euros is set to remain at 16 teams as UEFA tries to grow the event commercially.
UEFA said in a statement: “A review of national team competitions is currently underway. UEFA will not comment on this matter until after the consultation process with national associations has been completed.”