Austria-Switzerland EURO2008

One of the hot favourites with "Football's best - close to you!" as their slogan, Switzerland and Austria are bound together by centuries of history. Based in the centre of Europe, Austria and Switzerland would be convenient for all traveling supporters, and with the infrastructure to match their handy position in Europe, you have to agree that the two Alpine nations have plenty to offer.

They plan to have four stadiums in in each country as the backbone of the Alpine bid, from Servette FC's future home at the Stade de Geneve in the west to Vienna's five-star Ernst Happel stadium (which hosted the of the 1995 UEFA Champions League final) in the east. Heading west, the construction work on the Waidmannsdorf stadium in Klagenfurt and the Salzburg Stadium has begun. There are more improvements planned for FC Tirol Innsbruck's Tivoli-Neu stadium. Over the border in Switzerland, Grasshopper-Club's new home at Stadium Zόrich which would be great settings for any of the games. This season's Champions League has shown that FC Basel's Saint Jakob Park can provide a passionate atmosphere for football. BSC Young Boys' Wankdorf Stadium in Berne will be ready to host games by 2008, as will the Stade de Geneve.

The impressive transport links across the Alps aligned with a burgeoning tourist trade have prepared both nations for hosting major influxes of visitors. Austria and Switzerland would not have much to do to improve their transport infrastructure if they win the vote, getting to and from games should provide few problems as most towns already boast airports. The domestic leagues are getting stronger along with the facilities in place for the many Alpine sports developed in the region, means that excellent training grounds are already in place.

Switzerland's successful hosting of last summer's UEFA European Under-21 Championship allowed them to show UEFA just how much the country had to offer. Both countries have areas of immense beauty in a region which prides itself on organisation and welcoming visitors with open arms. The two nations will make much of the convenience of travel and the appropriate infrastructure already in place .

Ulla Weigerstorfer, Miss World 1987 still scrubs up well
Most bids have rounded up anybody that they think will add some international luster to their bid. The Austria-Switzerland couplet have called in the Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger who will be perhaps the most unusual celebrity to support any of the EURO 2008 bids. However, his support for his native Austria, coupled with that of former Miss World Ulla Weigerstorfer, legendary skier Franz Klammer and footballers like Toni Polster, Walter Schachner and Oliver Bierhoff, makes for an impressive line up. The usual array of national politicians, celebrities and sportsmen have been rallied to the cause. The Swiss are most proud of support from balloonist Bertrand Piccard (Who?). This unusual retinue shows that support for their bid extends far beyond the world of football.

We leave the last word to Pierre Benoit, director of communications for the Swiss Football Association (SFV): "
Austria and Switzerland are not big football countries but in both countries, football is the most important sport. The people and the government are behind the bid and we are in the heart of Europe. Security is very high and we have no problem with the infrastructure as well as having eight new stadiums. It is also a great place to have a holiday and watch football at the same time."


Editorial Team

Ger Harley (ger@scottishfitba.net)
Vanderhogg (vanderhogg@scottishfitba.net)

Special correspondents
Al McIntosh (Al@scottishfitba.net)

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