Edinburgh Is Still A Big Draw
While the rest of the media appears to be willing to let the UEFA delegation tour the EURO2008 venues without comment, I don't think it is appropriate for this site to follow suit. The delegates were in Edinburgh yesterday to take in the sights of Murrayfield and Easter Road. While it is a given that Murrayfield will be one of the venues to be used when the joint Scotland-Ireland EURO2008 bid succeeds, it could well be that Hibs' Easter Road ground is a bridesmaid again. Much depends on the progress to be made on the new grounds to be built for Aberdeen and the two Dundee clubs. The delegation thought it worthwhile to see what Edinburgh had to offer and were impressed by Easter Road. Obviously there would have to be some work to be done to provide the ground with the minimum number of seats required but that does not present any problem in view of the structure of the new stands.
Impressed the delegation
Murrayfield joined in the mood of the moment and had a football pitch marked out on the hallowed ground to all Scottish rugby aficionados. This was the first time that has happened in its 78-year history. The venue has been used for American football and rock concerts in the past but never association football. Could be quite and atmosphere with 67,000 fans cheering on the action on the field. The UEFA officials also viewed the planned site for the tournament draw (the Usher Hall) and the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. These kind of facilities will all feature in their report. UEFA are unlikely to use whoever host the actual games to present football only. The opportunity to gather representatives from all member countries of the organisation in 2005 for the draw will be too good an opportunity to miss. This means good conference facilities will have to be available.
just imagine 67,000 filling the seats
The capital city were determined to show that they were more than capable of being an important part of a unique festival of football and Celtic culture. The delegates ended their busy day by attending a joint presentation by Edinburgh City Council, Lothian and Borders Police, and Edinburgh and Lothians Tourist Board. Lord Provost Eric Milligan said: "Both Scotland and Ireland have football in their blood and we, in Edinburgh, are thrilled at the prospect of hosting the first draw in December 2005 and welcoming the participants and visitors in 2008." Deputy chief constable Tom Wood was on hand to reassure UEFA that the police could provide the level of security to deal with the anticipated influx of fans from the countries which qualify. He said: "We have one of the world’s most beautiful capital cities and our experience is renowned for hosting these huge events in a safe and friendly environment". Scotland 2008? - WHY THE HELL NOT!
Ger Harley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Shane Knox (email@example.com)
Al McIntosh (Al@scottishfitba.net)
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