Euro 2020

UEFA set to permit increased European Championship squad size

Tom Gott
UEFA will increase squad sizes for Euro 2020
UEFA will increase squad sizes for Euro 2020 / Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

UEFA are soon expected to confirm that national teams will be able to name two extra players in their squads for this summer's European Championship, to help manage the intense workload caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The idea of expanding squads was first raised by former Poland international Zbigniew Boniek, who urged UEFA's executive committee to consider ways to protect the fitness of players who have hardly had time to rest in more than 12 months now.

Zbigniew Boniek
Boniek has led the charge for more players / Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Numerous managers, including England’s Gareth Southgate, Belgium's Roberto Martinez and Italy's Roberto Mancini, have all backed the calls for squads to be increased, with the Italy chief even pushing for 26 players.

According to The Times, UEFA agreed to look at Boniek's proposal, and because of the strength of the support, are expected to agree to a two-man expansion for this summer's tournament.

It means national team managers can now call up 25 players instead of the usual 23, and UEFA are also considering allowing teams to include a handful of standby players who would travel with the squad and remain part of their bubble if needed.

As part of their efforts to protect players, UEFA have also elected to allow teams to make five substitutes in each game, rather than the standard three.

In the same meeting, UEFA also chose to remove the 30% stadium capacity limit they had initially imposed for the tournament, allowing nations to welcome even larger crowds if they can prove it is safe to do so beforehand.

The English FA are set to use one of the FA Cup semi-finals as part of a trial event for the return of fans, and there are also hopes that the final will be played in front of a crowd of 20,000 at Wembley Stadium.

If all goes to plan, England plan to host crowds of up to 45,000 at Wembley for the semi-finals and final in July, with the FA also prepared to increase that number at short notice if government advice allows it.

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