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UEFA confirms Euro 2016 qualification process

ESPN staff
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UEFA has revealed the qualifying process for the 2016 European Championship in France.

The 2016 European Championship takes place from June 10 to July 10 and will be played in 10 different stadiums around the country.

For the first time in the competition's history 24 nations will play for the international title.

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The hosts France will automatically qualify, and a record field of 53 nations, including debutants Gibraltar, will play for the 23 places at the tournament.

A total of nine groups will be drawn in Nice on February 23, 2014. The top two teams from each group will qualify for France 2016.

The best third-placed nation will also progress, while the other eight third-placed teams will play-off for the four remaining places.

UEFA also revealed the introduction of the "week of football" for the qualification phase. This scheduling format involves matches being played from Thursday to Tuesday.

The majority of kick-off times will be set at 5pm and 7.45pm on Saturdays and Sundays, and at 7.45pm on other days. On double-header match-weeks, teams will play on Thursday and Sunday, or Friday and Monday, or Saturday and Tuesday.

"This makes the competition clearer," UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said.

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