UEFA sets friendlies for Euro 2016 host France

UEFA says it keeps France, which is exempt from qualifying, "within the framework of the centralization of commercial rights." (Thibault Camus/AP)
December 19, 2013, 10:49 AM

NYON, Switzerland — UEFA says 2016 European Championship host France will play friendly matches during the qualifying program against teams placed in the only five-team group.

The plan for France to play "centralized friendlies" on official dates is detailed in tournament regulations.

UEFA says it keeps France, which is exempt from qualifying, "within the framework of the centralization of commercial rights."

European federations agreed to compensation from UEFA in exchange for giving control of their broadcasting rights to Euro 2016 and 2018 World Cup qualifying matches.

Previous hosts could decide their entire fixture list. Euro 2012 co-host Poland’s opponents included the United States, Ecuador and Mexico.

UEFA’s remaining 53 members will compete for 23 qualifying places.

The draw in Nice on Feb. 23 will allocate eight six-team qualifying groups and one five-team group.

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