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UEFA deny they have plans to extend Euro finals

UEFA has denied a report that it wants to revamp the European championship to include nations from outside the continent in a bid to rival the World Cup.

The Independent on Sunday newspaper had reported European football’s governing body was considering expanding the tournament to have an event that could include Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Japan.

A UEFA spokesman said: “We can confirm that UEFA is not aware of the plans mentioned in the story in the Independent.”

There is precedent for continental championships inviting outsiders, with USA, Mexico and Costa Rica and even Japan having competed in the South American equivalent, the Copa America.

FIFA would regard any such attempt to broaden the format as a threat to the World Cup, which is its biggest source of income.

The European Championships are certainly evolving, with the 2020 event set to be played across a number of different European countries, something which has divided UEFA president Michel Platini and FIFA chief Sepp Blatter.

According to Blatter, holding the tournament across an entire continent will mean that it “lacks heart and soul.”

However Platini, who is reported to be considering challenging for the FIFA presidency when Blatter’s current term ends in 2015, replied: “Everyone has the right to an opinion on UEFA projects.”