The battle plan for the joint bid for EURO2008 is nearing finalisation. With the election result over in Ireland, with the return of Berti Ahern as Prime Minister, going the right way as far as getting their part of the bargain in place, the SFA project manager, John Henderson, was pleased with the progress made so far. He will be pouring over the final drafts of the bidding document right up to the wire but will let us into it's secrets on Wednesday. We caught up with him to check the progress and Henderson said: "The bid document will be submitted to UEFA next week. Prior to that, we are planning a press conference on Wednesday in Glasgow when we will have available a summary of the bid. The summary will make clear the Scottish and Irish venues to be used in 2008 as well as training grounds."
Ready for the end of the month announcment
The clubs which have working on their development plans as part of their dream of being involved in EURO2008 will be paying pretty close attention to the summary. The SFA have encouraged (with financial support) Aberdeen, Dundee and Dundee United's plans for new grounds and are working with Hibs on their plans on further development of Easter Road all in view of the need to add two grounds to the four which meet UEFA's criteria for championship venues. Murrayfield (capacity 67,500), Ibrox (capacity 50,444), Hampden (capacity 52,045) and Celtic Park (capacity 60,501) all exceed the criteria with ease.
Perhaps as a slight hint to which grounds will be mentioned in the final bid or as a sop to a ground which will not be included, Easter Road has been suggested as a venue for another Scotland friendly (against either Canada or the United States) on October 15. The Far East tour allowed Berti Vogts to learn a lot about the quality he has available but he wants to learn more. Although the EURO2004 games that count will have already started, Vogts wants to continue to test things out.
Planing all the time
Hibs managing director Rod Petrie said: "Naturally we’d be delighted to speak to the SFA if they were to approach us with regard to hosting an international match". Easter Road has been used by Scotland in the past, the last time against Finland (which ended 1-1) in April 1998. Another friendly would be useful to Vogts. He is keen to test his players and has a friendly against Denmark at Hampden pencilled in for August 21, and plans to take Scotland to Brazil in February. Other countries which has a mind to play are Italy, Spain or Portugal. Can't say that he is not trying to make Scotland respectable again.