Irish Eyes Are Starting To Smile
The idea of Croke Park being used as part of EURO2008 is not dead yet. The UEFA delegation started their assessment process by looking at what the Republic of Ireland had to offer. The had a look at the site of the proposed Stadium Ireland and also visited Croke Park, home of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). We all know about their reluctance to allow the stadium to be used for soccer. However the incoming president Sean Kelly has hinted that he is not against changing the rules to allow Croke Park to become part of the bid. This along with pointed questions by the UEFA delegation about the possible use of Croke Park for a Champions League Final. The revenue and public attention that would bring to the Association may be too much to turn down.
UEFA delegates leave after being impressed by Croke Park
The GAA will vote on whether to allow football access to their treasured ground will be made next month. The fact Europe's premier club tournament would really like to use Dublin for it's showcase could be critical. Of course, the success of the Champions League Final at Hampden this year will not have gone unnoticed in Ireland. Any deal to bring Europe's broadcasting millions to the Irish capital will, of course, be dependent on Croke Park becoming the centre- piece of the Republic's contribution. And with an estimated £30million of government funding still due to be paid out on the stadium, the likelihood of a vote for change is all the greater. SFA Chief executive David Taylor knows much depends on the Irish contribution to the bid. He said of the first part of the tour of inspection: "The day has gone well, it has been well organised by the Irish authorities. The UEFA team saw and met what is important from the Dublin end of the bid, and they are satisfied with the commitments made by the Irish Government for six years down the line".
UEFA inspection team member Harry Been talks to SFA EURO2008 Press Officer Simon Lyons (left)
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