UEFA is considering allowing more than 23 players in the squad at Euro 2021. Many coaches of national football teams have approached UEFA for the expanded squad to be allowed during the Euro 2021. The teams are afraid of losing their players due to Covid 19 virus during the tournament.
On Thursday, the UEFA spokesperson told AFP that many coaches of national teams which mainly include Italy, France and Belgium have asked for a larger squad. UEFA is considering the issue. No decision has been made yet.
UEFA has already decided to allow five substitutions instead of three due to the unusual situations of Covid. This rule is being used widely across all club football and even in FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
After a thumping 8-0 victory over Belarus, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez appealed to UEFA to allow a 26-27 members squad. Since the 2002 World Cup, the teams are allowed a 23 man squad. Prior to that, a 22 man squad was permitted.
While commenting on 26-27 member squad, Martinez said, Ideally we would be able to have an extra goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and forward, so either 26 or 27 players in the squad.”
France coach Didier Deschamps also believes that having extra players on the bench might help during these situations. Moreover, the French coach also mentioned that this will overcome the problem of tiredness which is one of the major issues due to a packed schedule.
“I think it would be good if UEFA looked at expanding squads by two or three players, as long as they could all be named on the team sheet for games,” said Deschamps, whose squad was not affected by Covid-19 cases during the latest international window.
“We have not had any positive cases but I think with fatigue and everything else it would be a good thing.
Gareth Southgate not in favor of expanded squad
On Wednesday, England beat Poland 2-1. After their victory, Southgate commented on the issue. He is certainly not in favor of an expanded squad.
“I know there’s some discussion about perhaps an extended number in the squad. I’m not certain I’m behind that. I know Covid could play a part but I think there’s a skill to picking 23. “It means you’ve got to make good decisions and important decisions and I think some of that can be lost as you get an extended group.”
The decision on the expansion of the team squad could be made at UEFA’s executive committee on April 19. It is also expected that finalizing the venues will also be done in the same meeting.