The Scottish Football Association have won the first round in their attempt to have the European Championship finals expanded to 24 teams.

The UEFA Congress in Dusseldorf voted overwhelmingly to carry out a feasibility study looking at raising the number of finalists from 16.

The Scottish FA were backed by the FAI in their proposal, and UEFA will now investigate making a change though there may be opposition to bringing in any new format before 2016.

SFA chief executive David Taylor told the Congress: 'We propose UEFA undertake an immediate feasibility study into the possible expansion of the finals of the European Football Championships.

'I would like to disabuse anyone of the notion that Scotland and Ireland are making this proposal for the simple reason that this is the only chance we would have to qualify for the final round of a major tournament.

'Scotland are currently top of our Euro 2008 qualifying group - although to be fair Ireland are struggling a bit in theirs.

'We have nothing but the good of football at heart in making this proposal.

'We can decide on the format in the best interests of the game - of course there has to be a qualification competition and the final round.

'Without compromising the value of the qualifying rounds it could be 20 teams in the finals but we think 24 is possible.

'It would mean more profile and more revenue for more countries.'

The idea has been opposed by FIFA president Sepp Blatter and Franz Beckenbauer, who point out that would mean almost half of UEFA's 52 countries qualifying for the finals.

It has also been claimed a 24-team tournament is much more difficult to organise than a 16-team or 32-team event.

Taylor added: 'A 24-team tournament is not uncommon - Scotland will be one of 24 countries competing in Canada this year in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup.

'It would mean more matches in the early rounds and would add freshness to the competition because having the same 10 or 12 teams all the time is limiting.'

FAI chief executive John Delaney also spoke in favour of the proposal.

Delaney said: 'The qualifying groups are now of eight and seven teams and as a result there are less meaningful games.

'All it can lead to is repeated non-qualification for major tournaments which affects our ability to promote the game.

'The positives are quite many and to enlarge to 24 teams gives the opportunity for greater fan involvement, increased revenue and higher profile.

'This is not about less games for the smaller countries [in qualifying] it's about increased chance to qualify. We would be missing a huge opportunity if we did not explore this proposal.'

The proposal was carried with 44 out of a possible 52 votes.

The last change to the format of the finals came for Euro '96 in England when the numbers were boosted from eight to 16 teams.