UEFA confirms 26-man squads for Euro 2024

Image: EURO 2024 Twitter/X

In a move welcomed by football managers and fans alike, UEFA has officially announced an increase in squad size for the upcoming European Championships, providing a much-needed boost for England manager Gareth Southgate and his counterparts.

The decision, ratified after discussions among the 24 managers participating in Euro 2024, allows teams to register 26 players for the tournament, up from the initial quota of 23. This development comes amidst a backdrop of escalating injury concerns, particularly for Southgate’s England squad, prompting UEFA to reconsider their stance.

A statement released by UEFA’s Executive Committee on Friday evening outlined the amendment, emphasising that while the increase isn’t mandatory, teams must submit a list comprising a minimum of 23 players and a maximum of 26 by the deadline of June 7.

The expansion echoes similar measures implemented for the Covid-delayed Euro 2021 and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, reflecting a concerted effort by football governing bodies to address player welfare concerns and ensure squad depth amid unforeseen circumstances.

For Southgate, grappling with a string of injuries to key players during recent friendlies, the news couldn’t have come at a better time. Expressing his support for the larger squads, Southgate highlighted the challenges of making critical selection decisions amidst medical uncertainties, noting the previous success in navigating such situations with larger squads.

England face a tight schedule, with the final squad submission due just hours after their last warm-up friendly against Iceland at Wembley on June 7. Southgate plans to announce a provisional squad on May 21, immediately following the conclusion of the Premier League season, providing ample time for deliberation and assessment.

The extended squad size offers a lifeline for players like Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish, who have endured disappointing seasons at the club level. With increased opportunities for selection, they aim to stake their claim in Southgate’s final squad, bolstering England’s prospects for Euro 2024.

As the countdown to the tournament intensifies, the expanded squads promise to add an extra dimension to the competition, ensuring that teams have the depth and resilience to navigate the challenges that lie ahead on the European stage.