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France nets 2016 European football bonanza

The Swiss-based governing body of European football, Uefa, has chosen France to host the 2016 European championship.

It will be the first time that 24 teams will compete in the tournament, Uefa said after a news conference in Geneva on Friday.

Italy were eliminated in the first ballot of Uefa executive committee members, meaning France and Turkey entered a second ballot where a simple majority was required to earn the right to stage the tournament.

France won by a majority of one from the 13 votes cast.

“I want first to thank our friends from Italy and Turkey; I feel for them and the feelings of frustration and sadness after months of work and I wish Italian and Turkish football good luck,” said French Football Federation President Jean-Pierre Escalettes.

“For us it is a moment of intense emotions, given that in 2016 we will welcome European football to France. We will fulfil our promises and we thank our friends on the executive committee at Uefa. They have put their trust in us and that’s what counts for us.”

The last Uefa Euro Championships in 2008 were co-hosted by Switzerland and Austria, with Spain beating Germany 1-0 in the final in Vienna. Uefa is based at Nyon on Lake Geneva.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR