The German Football Federation have threatened withdrawal from the EURO 2016 qualifying campaign following a spat with UEFA President Michel Platini.
The Group D favourites are incensed over comments [in jest] made by Platini after German head coach Joachim Löw criticised the new format of the competition.
Ahead of the draw, Löw criticised the new 24-team final tournament format for the European Championship, stating: “I think increasing the number of teams in the European Championship is questionable and the same goes for the qualifying tournament. It reduces the sporting value of not only individual matches but also of the entire tournament.”
When questioned over Löw’s comments, Platini replied: “He shouldn’t play it [Euro 2016] then, in that case. It’s a decision that was taken by the vast majority [at the Uefa Congress of 2009]. Two or three associations – like England, Germany, the big ones – weren’t in favour, but of the 54, 51 actually supported the tournament. So, in any democracy, when the vast majority are in favour, you go forward with it even if England or Germany aren’t in favour.
“We can have 24 very good teams, so this tournament can be a success. From the dry-run this morning, I realised there’ll be a lot of pressure on teams. There are some very strong teams. The five or six biggest teams don’t have much to worry about…But 24 teams will be as good as 16 teams.”
However, speaking to Sky, German Football League chief Christian Seifert has hit out at Michel Platini and the new format, he added: “I find it somewhat arrogant for a UEFA president, and maybe we should simply not play after all. Then we’d see what the European Championship is still worth.”
Seifert continued his broadside, saying: “Twenty-four teams out of 54 will qualify, so you don’t need to have such a long qualifying tournament.
“A lot of leagues don’t like what UEFA is doing. The clubs are the employers, they pay the players and UEFA is not on the right path when they don’t look at the interests of the national leagues.”
What are your thoughts on the new format?