French Football Federation (FFF) president Jean-Pierre Escalettes expressed his great emotion after Friday's decision by UEFA's Executive Committee to name France as hosts of UEFA EURO 2016 and the sense of responsibility that his country and national football association both now feel in staging the event in six summers' time.
I have a feeling of great joy and great pride that the UEFA Executive Committee has put its trust in us," said Mr Escalettes after the announcement of the decision in Geneva. France will host the first 24-team EURO, having previously staged the 1984 European Championship and 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups.
Thirteen members of the Executive Committee were eligible to vote, and UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino announced that the Executive Committee's first ballot had given France 43 points, ahead of Turkey (38) and Italy (23). The second ballot between France and Turkey brought a 7-6 vote in favour of France.
The FFF president spoke of the teamwork and unity that had been a key component within the French bid. "A team was behind our victory, a team directed and animated by an exceptional man in [FFF general director] Jacques Lambert. Certainly today there is the pride and joy felt by an entire association.
"There was unity within football and the presence alongside me today of the president of the French Professional League, Frédéric Thiriez, is symbolic and shows the solidarity of football in our country."
Mr Escalettes also acknowledged the sterling support given to the bid by the amateur section of the game in France. "This feeling of joy is also joined by a feeling of responsibility," he added. "
Today is the start of an adventure for French football. I repeat that our wish is to greet you [in 2016] in such a way that you are happy in France."
Mr Escalettes also had words of consolation for Turkey and Italy. "I put myself in the place of these two delegations. It must be very hard, after months and months of work, to lose right at the final hurdle. I have the good fortune not to be in their position."
UEFA President Michel Platini praised the three EURO 2016 bidders. "Three national associations have submitted three exceptional bids," he said. "From UEFA's side, there is also the proof of transparency and democracy through this very narrow result. I congratulate my Turkish and Italian friends and congratulate France on having won."
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