The European football championships in 2016 will be expanded from 16 teams to 24, UEFA has confirmed.
The 13-man executive committee of European football’s governing body voted unanimously for the expansion.
The 16-team format for the Euro finals has been in place since 1996.
The format of the final tournament will consist of six groups of four teams, followed by a round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final, UEFA said.
The top two from each group would qualify in addition to the four best third-ranked sides.
This format would generate a total of 51 games played over a period of 29 to 31 days depending on the match schedule.
“This historic decision gives middle-ranked countries a much greater chance to qualify for the final tournament,” UEFA said in a statement.
“The traditional qualifying format, with groups of six and five teams, will remain in place.”