Qualifying is open to all UEFA member associations. Teams initially compete in a group stage, with the section winners and a set number of best runners-up paired off in two-legged play-offs to determine the seven sides that will join the tournament hosts in the finals.
The final tournament consists of two groups of four, with the top two from each progressing to the semi-finals where it becomes a knockout competition. In finals held a year before a summer Olympic Games (eg 2011, 2015) the championship also serves as qualification for the Olympic Football Tournament.
The regulations for the UEFA European Under-21 Championship are initially drawn up by the UEFA Administration before being submitted to the UEFA National Team Competitions Committee. They are then forwarded upon that committee's approval to the UEFA Executive Committee for ratification.
Players are eligible for the 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship if they were born on or after 1 January 1990.
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