Martin Samuel recently interviewed Michel Platini. You can find the full transcript on the Daily Mail. A lot of issues were discussed and even the qualifying format for EURO 2016 was brought up. Here's the excerpt. Looks very similar to the proposal presented by Mr. Platini in 2011.
I think Mr. Platini made a small mistake - the UEFA meeting in Dubrovnik will take place in September this year, not in 2014.
Because Mr. Platini's English is a bit rusty (he said so himself), here's the plan he has in mind.
Two group phases:
1. First phase - 12 groups of 4 teams (yes, I know, that's 48 teams and UEFA now have 54 members including Gibraltar). Only winners qualify.
2. Second phase - in the remaining six match-days (Mr. Platini mentions 12 in total), the remaining teams somehow contest the remaining spots, while the 12 teams qualified previously will be involved in a great pre-EURO friendly tournament in USA/Brazil/Argentina/London/France. Based on the 2011 plan, all UEFA members will get a (equal?) share of the TV rights for this friendly tournament.
Platini: I think it was a good idea. The only problem of the 24 are the qualifications. It will be less interesting.
Samuel: That was my point.
Platini: So we have to change the system of qualification process.
Samuel: How would you do that?
Platini: We have made some proposals to the national associations last time at the congress of Cyprus. And they didn’t want to change because they didn’t anticipate the problem. But we anticipate the problem so we have to discuss with all the national associations. But I think in the next year in Dubrovnik, we have to think about the qualification. They have to be better, instead of a group of seven with three qualifying – we have to think something, we have to think of something better for the success of European football.
Samuel: Like what?
Platini: We have many ideas.
Samuel: Give us one. Your best one.
Platini: The best one for me can be not the best one for you. And perhaps not the best for the associations, and tomorrow they kill me in the newspaper.
Samuel: But what do you think is the best one?
Platini: No, no, first we have to propose. We can propose many things. If you think a little you will see that you can have more than one proposal.
Samuel: I think about stuff like this all the time, Michel.
Platini: You can have two ways of qualification. You can have a qualification, perhaps with the group, when you take only the first. The first. You can play six games – we have 12 matchdays. So it means that we can make a tournament for the first, and perhaps we can make the same tournament to qualify those other 12 teams. That could be an idea. We can make tournament for the first – I don’t know perhaps in the United States, perhaps in Argentina, perhaps in Brazil – to develop the football in this country. Perhaps in London, perhaps in France, a tournament for the best team – that could be an idea. It could be a different sort of qualification. It means you have qualification for one, then the other 12 seats you have qualification for the lower team in Europe and official games to be another chance to be qualifying.
Farrelly: There’s Europe and then there is a World Cup qualification that has to be considered afterwards. There’s two things that need to be answered.
Platini: You know I have many, many, many ideas.