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UEFA to sell TV rights for qualifying matches

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PARIS (AP) — European soccer's governing body is centralizing broadcast rights for qualifying matches to major tournaments.

Michel Platini, president of the Union of European Football Associations, says UEFA has reached a deal with all 53 members.

National federations currently sell rights to their own home matches and keep the revenue, a system that has made it difficult for foreign networks such as ESPN to acquire rights. Platini says the new deal will give countries guaranteed income to prevent them losing out if they are drawn to play less glamorous opponents in qualifying groups.

UEFA will begin selling rights to qualifiers for the 2016 European Championship and 2018 World Cup.