France will be the predecessor to Poland and Ukraine’s joint hosting of the European Championships after they fort off competition from Italy and Turkey to win the right of hosting the tournament in the summer of 2016.
It will have been twelve years since France last hosted a major tournament as they did in 1998 as they delivered a fine FIFA World Cup where Les Bleus eventually won the coveted world title in Paris to spark mass scenes of joy and jubilation in the countries capital.
UEFA president and compatriot Michel Platini unveiled the winners Friday afternoon in The Espace Hippomène in Geneva as the French won by a single vote of seven to six from rivals Turkey. Italy came in at third place after being eliminated in the first round. It’s the second successive time the Italians had bid to host the tournament as they also missed out on Euro 2012 which will see Poland and Ukraine host the tournament in two years time
France will play host to Europe’s premier international competition for a third time after delivering the showpiece in 1960 and 1986 with 2016 completing its hat-trick. Michel Platini captained Les Bleus to their first European Championship triumph in their very own home in 1984, and twenty-six years later as UEFA president, proudly announced that his home nation will once again play host to Europe’s finest teams.
France was the odds on favourites to win the right to host the tournament due to their Governments support over the project. Their stadiums are due for renovation over the coming years such as Marseilles, Stade Velodrome and Paris St Germain’s, Parc de Princess which will see their capacities increased along with six other stadiums. Four newly built stadia are also due for construction.
It will be the biggest European Championships in history as the competitions format will expand to accommodate 24 teams from the current 16. France will be making history as UEFA plan this new innovative concept aimed to involve more nations.
The bid was supported by French president Nicolas Sarcozy and football legend, and arguably France’s greatest ever player, Zinedine Zidane. Jean-Pierre Escalettes, the president of the French Football Federation (FFF) expressed his delight at the decision. Despite being a very proud man he showed immense gratitude to UEFA for their trust in France to deliver a spectacle for the continent in six years time.
“This is a beautiful day for us.”
“It is a moment of intense emotion to know that in 2016 France will welcome European football and will fulfil its promises. What counts for us is to have the full confidence of UEFA and this trust will not be betrayed.”
The people of France were left disappointed in 2005 as Paris narrowly missed out on hosting the 2012 Olympics to eventual winners London. Now they can celebrate this monumental moment of success for their homeland as they can look forward to a festival of continental flavour and passion in six years time. France has never failed to live up to the billing as hosts and 2016 shall be no different.