Can't Get Your Cake Bought And Expect To Eat It Alone
The bad news that the GAA will not reconsider the use of their Croke Park for football (as part of EURO2008) until April 2003 may yet turn out to be a case of cutting their nose off to spite their face. The lack of finance has delayed the completion of Croke Park with one end still standless. Still a magnificent stadium but if the final end was in place it would challenge the best grounds in the world in terms of facilities and atmosphere. The GAA were relying on the Irish Government to finance the upgrading. However, if the Irish Government could not find the money for Stadium Ireland due to their financial difficulties they were hardy likely to hand out grants to an organisation that did not want to play ball (especially football!).
Incomplete at the moment
The GAA may have been thinking of playing brinkmanship using the lack of facilities for EURO2008 as their trump card. However, with 23 expressions of interest from private developers wanting to get involved in Stadium Ireland in the last two weeks, the balance has swung back to the Irish Government. The Taoiseach, Berti Ahern, may yet get his monument to his time in power, his Berti's Bowl. The Irish have until the end of next month to come up with firm proposals as to which grounds will form part of the bid to be considered by UEFA in December.
You may remember we reported on the Irish Independent piece which stated that those involved in the Irish side of the bid had been told in August that guarantees of two suitable stadia would have to be made by mid-September. We decided to check with John Henderson, the SFA project manager about the story. He said: "This story is groundless. No reason to be unduly concerned." As Henderson has been right so many times when we have approached him for comments, I have no reason to doubt him now.
Ger Harley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Shane Knox (email@example.com)
Al McIntosh (Al@scottishfitba.net)
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