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UEFA consider expanding Euros

European soccer's governing body UEFA will decide in the second half of this year whether to increase the number of teams competing at the European Championship finals from the current 16 from 2016.

General secretary David Taylor said on Thursday that invitations and bid documents for Euro 2016 would probably be sent out by the end of the year and a decision was needed before then on whether 16, 20 or 24 nations would compete.

A consultation process would begin after the end of Euro 2008 in Switzerland and Austria involving the presidents and general secretaries of all 53 national associations, he said at a news conference in Basel.

"After the summer months, after this consultation phase is complete, we will take a view as to what we should be doing in terms of expansion of the tournament or not," he told a news conference.

"We will obviously be making a decision on that in the second half of the year."

The current 16-team format was introduced for the first time in England in 1996.

One format considered for a 24-team tournament involves six groups of four teams, last used at the 1994 World Cup finals in the United States.

The top two from each group and the four best third-placed teams would progress to the knockout stages.

A 20-team format would have four groups of five teams with the top two in each group advancing

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