The seven candidates could be reduced before December
UEFA have added a twist in the process of winning the vote to host EURO2008. Rather than consider the seven bids as a group, UEFA will draw up a shortlist of the two or three front runners after they have visited all seven potential hosts. This new complication will allow representatives from bids that do not make the shortlist to be involved in the final vote that will decide the winner. UEFA’s executive committee is made up of 14 representatives with 6 coming from countries involved in submitting bids. These 6 could not be involved in any final vote if all the bids were to be considered in December.
This could make the process more political with the corridors of power being used to persuade voting agreements if a bid fails. The decision to further complicate the process was made following a meeting in Nyon, Switzerland, today. UEFA Communications director Mike Lee said: "This method is viewed as the fairest way of deciding which bid should win and will involve as many members of the executive committee as possible." Scotland are not represented on the executive committee but would hope to be able to count of the vote of England’s Geoff Thompson. The full list of committee members are as follows:
Uefa executive committee members not involved with bids:
Geoff Thompson (England), Angel Villar Llona (Spain), Mathieu Sprengers (Holland), Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder (Germany), Joseph Mifsud (Malta), Michel Platini (France), Henri Roemer (Luxembourg) and Mario Lefkaritis (Cyprus).
Members involved with bids:
Lennart Johansson (Sweden), Senes Erzik (Turkey), Per Ravn Omdal (Norway), Viacheslav Koloskov (Russia), Giangiorgio Spiess (Switzerland) and Eggert Magnusson (Iceland).
Scotland do have an influential voice of two in two governing bodies. Ex-SFA Secretary, Ernie Walker is in charge of stadium inspection and standards in UEFA and David Will is the FIFA vice-president who is invited to attend UEFA’s executive committee meetings as an observer. Having seen it all before, Will predicted that some bidders will drop out even before the shortlist is decided. Will said: "It would not surprise me if a couple of the candidates, or even three, withdrew following the visits by the evaluation team.". The inspection team from UEFA arrives in September to inspect the stadiums planned for the Scotland Ireland bid. Let’s hope that we have something to really impress them and allows the bid to make the all-important short list.