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Joint Euro 2008 bid goes ahead


Scotland and Ireland will be partners in a bid to host the 2008 European Championships.

First Minister Jack McConnell today pledged that the Scottish Executive will do all in its power to bring the European Championships to Scotland and Ireland in six years time.

Following the announcement by the Scottish and Irish Football Associations officially confirming the nations' intention to bid to host the championship, Mr McConnell guaranteed his full political backing for the move.

Jack McConnell said:

"I am absolutely delighted that the Irish government has done exactly what they said they would do and come in by today's deadline.

"We now have a joint bid and this is a very exciting time for football. I am absolutely confident that both sides can produce a first class bid which can produce the best championship ever. It is a time to be positive and put the cynicism and suspicion behind us."

Sports Minister Mike Watson was delighted by the Irish decision to share in the prospect of bringing the best of European football to our shores.

"This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity which could bring immeasurable benefits to our proud sporting nations, not only for football but for tourism, business and national status.

"We already have a steering group established which includes the SFA, FAI, Scottish Executive, Irish Government, tourist boards and sports bodies. The SFA and FAI have put together a team of advisers that includes some of the top experts in Britain, Ireland and Europe. The consultants include the police, transport providers, telecommunications experts and all the other services that you need for a first class tournament.

"We will put together the best possible case for hosting Euro 2008 by UEFA's May 31st deadline. We do not underestimate the strength of the competition for what is the third biggest sporting event in the world, but the Scots and Irish will be focussed and persuasive in their submissions to UEFA."