Euro 2020 squads' size up to 26, say reports

LONDON • European football's governing body Uefa is set to increase the size of the national team squads at this year's European Championship from 23 to 26 players, according to British media reports on Tuesday.

The rule is being changed to lighten the burden on players after the start of the 2020-21 season was delayed last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic while the campaign was also compressed to finish by May, in time for the June 11-July 11 tournament.

The decision was taken by Uefa's national teams committee on Monday and is expected to be ratified by its executive committee later this week, the BBC said.

Italy coach Roberto Mancini said last month he would support the introduction of larger squads due to the risk of players contracting Covid-19 and the difficulty in replacing them during the event.

"Someone could contract the virus during the tournament. It would then become difficult to find other players, because they would have all gone on holiday," he said.

Uefa has confirmed teams will be allowed to make five substitutions per game at the event.

Separately, Germany's football association (DFB) has said it planned to hold talks with outgoing Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick about becoming the replacement for national team boss Joachim Low when the European Championship ends.

Flick will leave Bayern at the end of the season, with RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann named as his successor.

"It's well known that Hansi Flick is held in high regard by the federation. We can confirm that, in this context, we will now also have discussions with him and Bayern officials," a DFB spokesman said.

"At this time, we will not be making any more comment on the rest of the procedure, which we will coordinate internally first."

Flick won the Bundesliga, German Cup and the Champions League last season, and his side could wrap up the German title again early next month, but his relationship with Bayern's sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has deteriorated over transfer policy.

The 56-year-old is considered the DFB's primary choice to take over from Low, who is set to step down after the European Championship following 15 years in charge. Flick served as an assistant to Low between 2006 and 2014, helping Germany win the World Cup in Brazil.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 29, 2021, with the headline 'Euro 2020 squads' size up to 26, say reports'. Subscribe