FINNISH THEM OFF
With the prospect of a battle hotting up between Wales and Scotland over the 2009 Ryder Cup, it would be interesting to see if we could work together on the bid for the UEFA 2008 Championships. As government support is vital to both attempts at securing such prestige tournaments, there might be a bit of friction once the Ryder Cup decision is made after this year's event at the Belfry. First Minister Henry McLeish is making sure he is closely associated with both bids. He has backed up his fine words and photo opportunities with hard cash and committed £8M to the golf and £40M to the football, so it is nice to see that he has his sporting priorities in the right order.
Pinning his hopes on sporting success.
There made be something of a benefit if there is friction created. It could make the SFA's preferred option of going it alone for 2008 much easier to take forward without the distraction of having to consider a joint option. This is something that our competitors in the bidding process fear the most - the threat of a solo bid. Scotland and Russia are they only provisional bids which are solo efforts. We have suggested before that Russia may not have to be considered as a serous threat. They may have the idea and the will but not the wherewithal to get the bid up to tolerable standards.
The favourites at the moment are all hobnobbing in Argentina at the FIFA Congress and making sure that they meet the right people who may vote for them come decision time. The media spokesman for the Noric quartet, Tero Korhoren, admitted that all the joint ventures feared Scotland's solo suggestion. The attractions to UEFA of only having to deal with a single football association and government is there for all to see. Even though the Vikings all know each other very well and have a number of shared ventures behind them, they are still wary of UEFA's preference for a solo bid.
The Scandanavians are ahead of the game stadia wise with six 30,000 seat grounds (in Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Tamper, Helsinki and Gothemburg) in place and a seventh on the way in Malmo. But as Tero stated: "I think that UEFA have seen good experience of EURO 2000 in Holland and Belgium last summer, so now we have to think that it is not a real problem if there are two or more countries hosting the tournament. But we cannot know how UEFA people think. At this point we have to assume that every bid is level with no differences and we just have to work hard on moving forward with our own bid".
And I think that is just what we should do. Who cares who else is in the race. Lets just make sure our bid is the best we can produce. If the other bidders are worried now, just think what they will be like when we actually formulate our final bid.