AP news agency reports that UEFA is considering expanding the EM to 32 teams from 2028, with no protest events yet. Angry fans didn’t capture No. 24 in the final at Wembley (there are several teams at the moment), and neither did Twitter go crazy. This may be because the European Football Association has not officially ratified the idea of sports. Or the fact that no one else expects anything from anyone anyway.
Five years ago in France the tournament was expanded from 16 to 24 participants, the 2022 Qatar World Cup would be the final with 32 teams, and 48 teams would meet in 2024 in the USA, Canada and Mexico. And how did football visionary Sepp Blatter once declare it? At some point there will be “no longer just a world championship, but interplanetary competitions”. Bus!
What are the pros and cons of increasing EM?
Arguments for or against the increase have been exchanged thousands of times. On the one hand there is the concern of larger federations (and clubs as employers of players) about more and more sports and greater stress. And if in the future it is not possible for Germany, France and Portugal to play in the same EM group as Moldova, Liechtenstein and Andorra also take place, the preliminary round play value is zero.
On the other hand, European Championship qualification would be advanced if several of the 55 UEFA member associations could expect to participate in more tournaments, and not just a single elite. And, the most important argument: More sports means more football on TV means more money for Uefa. So is this going to happen anyway?
At least these arguments are just the obvious part of doing business. Also to be considered is the defensive struggle UEFA is waging against attacks from world federation FIFA, where President Gianni Infantino tries to take the most valuable pieces of European football out of Ufa and turn them into money himself.
The establishment of a European Super League by major Spanish, Italian and English clubs was just the latest escalation – a FIFA man was at the table during the talks! Ultimately: UEFA has turned down this split project. Another reach at the heart of European football must be the bloated FIFA Club World Cup. Infantino had originally planned to sell the new format and other FIFA rights to an Arab-Asian financial consortium in which he himself would play a key role. This plan too has not been effective so far.
World Cup could soon happen every two years – Arsene Wenger is paid by FIFA for the project
And now, right in the middle of the current EM, confirmation of the next project: FIFA is considering holding its own World Cup every two years! Of course only for “improving the quality of games around the world”, the responsible project manager Arsene Wenger, who is paid by Infantino for such sets, has just claimed. There will be hardly any room for EM in this FIFA scenario.
What’s the point of combating World Cup megalomania with plans for inflated EM? Should tournaments happen at the same time soon? And finally actually on the moon? Above all, it should be about keeping Europe’s federations together. Infantino needs European votes for his projects, and even though he can’t promise everyone a starting place in his 48 world championships, he promises a lot of money! So far, Europeans, including smaller unions, have remained firm. The prospect of participating in the European Championships would certainly be beneficial to UEFA loyalty.