- Associated Press - Friday, December 10, 2010

PRAGUE (AP) - Soccer’s 2012 European Championship could be played using an experimental system of five match officials.

The Union of European Football Associations decided Friday to ask again for permission from FIFA’s International Football Association Board, the sport’s rules-making panel.

The IFAB limited five-referee trials to club soccer when it met in July. It approved the system for UEFA’s Champions League and Europa League competitions until 2012.

IFAB comprises delegates from FIFA and the four British national federations, and is next scheduled to meet in March.

Euro 2012 will be played in Poland and Ukraine, and profits from the 16-nation tournament will help fund increased payments to UEFA’s 53 federations.

UEFA agreed Friday to pay each country a total of 9 million euro ($11.9 million) from 2012-16. Some of the money must be invested in women’s soccer, grass roots work and entering lower-tier tournaments such as the under-17 girls championship.

The amount represents a 15 percent rise on funding from Euro 2008, which was co-hosted by Austria and Switzerland. UEFA reported a surplus of 250 million euro (then $394 million) on that tournament on revenue of 1.3 billion euro (then $2.04 billion).

Also Friday, the executive committee agreed to create an award that will honor all European players who have made 100 international appearances.

Players who reached the 100-mark include greats such as Bobby Charlton, Luis Figo, Paolo Maldini and Zinedine Zidane.

The European record is held by Latvia’s Vitalijs Astafjevs who retired last month after his 167th international match.



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