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2:53:42 PM
Scots rely on joint bid for Euros

Scottish FA chief executive Gordon Smith
Smith hopes the expansion will give Scotland a better chance of qualifying

The future expansion of the European Championship all but rules Scotland out of hosting the tournament.

However, Scottish FA chief executive Gordon Smith believes he was right to propose the change from a 16-team event to 24 nations from 2016.

"It was difficult, but I can see the advantages since it gives us a better chance of qualifying," said Smith.

"In future, we may be a host, but we'd probably have to do it as part of a joint bid."

The SFA and Football Association of Ireland put forward the motion to increase the number of finalists at a Uefa congress in May 2007.

"It was pretty much backed by every nation," Smith told BBC Sport. "There were not very many dissenters.

"Not only will it give us a better chance of qualifying, but I feel it gives us a more exciting qualifying process.

"If two teams qualify automatically and a third place becomes a place for a play-off, you'll find that there may be three or four teams playing for that place, which could see the qualifying rounds go right to the very end.

"So I think it will enhance the competition."

Scotland and the Republic of Ireland failed with a joint effort for Euro 2008 and the Scots have held preliminary talks with the Football Association of Wales about a possible bid to host the 2016 event.

This year's tournament, won by Spain, was co-hosted by Austria and Switzerland, while 2000 saw the event shared by two nations for the first time, with Belgium and Netherlands doing the honours.

Poland and Ukraine will present the 2012 finals, having allayed early concerns about their ability to meet the standard of facilities required.

The Scots, who have never hosted a major football event, were quick to throw their name in as an alternative when doubts emerged about the infrastructure and stadiums in Ukraine.

"We asked to be on standby because their were doubts about their ability to stage it and there was talk about it being changed," explained Smith.

"We just put our name in with Uefa to say we would like to be considered."

Scotland last qualified for the European Championship in 1996 and fell at the group stage, having lost out to hosts England, drawn with Netherlands and beaten Switzerland.
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