UEFA to increase squad size to 26 players for Euro 2020 - reports

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FILE PHOTO: Travellers pass by a logo of the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship displayed on a wall inside Bucharest Henri Coanda International Airport

(Reuters) - Europe's soccer governing body UEFA is set to increase the size of the national team squads at this year's European Championship from 23 to 26 players, British media reported on Tuesday.

The rule is being changed to lighten the burden on players after the start of the 2020-21 season was delayed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic while the campaign was also compressed to finish by May, in time for the June 11-July 11 Euros.

The decision was taken by UEFA's national teams committee on Monday and is expected to be ratified by its executive committee later this week, the BBC said.

Italy head coach Roberto Mancini said last month he would support the introduction of larger squads due to the risk of players contracting COVID-19 and the difficulty in replacing them during the Euro2020 tournament.

"Someone could contract the virus during the tournament. It would then become difficult to find other players, because they would have all gone on holiday," Mancini said.

UEFA confirmed last month that teams will be allowed to make five substitutions per game at the Euros.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)