Political Support For EURO2012 Bid

Brian Adam MSP
You may have thought that the prospect of bringing the European Championships to Scotland was dead and buried. You would be wrong. The SFA had their fingers severely singed with their experience of the joint bid with the Irish FA for EURO2008, which was awarded to Austria and Switzerland in December 2002. The SFA suggested during the bid process that a bid for 2008 could be the last realistic opportunity to win the right to stage the second largest football championship in the world. However, as we all know, the political will required by any host nation was sadly undermined by the decision to force a joint bid with Ireland. The added complication of getting both governments and football associations to agree the best bid was partly to blame for the failure to win the bid.

There does appear to be some interest in political circles for Scotland to have another attempt at hosting the European Championships. Brian Adam SNP MSP for Aberdeen North has tabled the following motion for discussion at Holyrood.

"That the Parliament notes the success, both sporting and economic, of the recent European Football Championships in Portugal; believes that Scotland would benefit greatly from hosting the championships in 2012 or at any time in the future, and calls on the Scottish Executive to provide the necessary funding and improvements to Scotland’s infrastructure and to work with the Scottish Football Association to ensure a successful solo bid."

The motion has been supported by his colleagues Michael Matheson, Bruce Crawford, Rob Gibson, Richard Lochhead, Alex Neil, Mike Pringle, Adam Ingram. Of course, eight voices will not carry much weight in the Scottish Parliament and they are hoping that fans will contact their own MSPs to lobby them to back the motion.

We know that the government promised £40m if the EURO2008 bid was successful to help prepare the country for the championships. The price to be paid for supporting a bid for EURO2012 would be significantly more. There is more to inviting the rest of Europe to your country than getting football grounds up to scratch. The infrastructure to help movement between the venues needs to be there as would the hotels for fans to stay in and would still be there long after the foreign football fans had headed for home. Adams believes that the investment in infrastructure will be offset by the economic benefits that the country will garner during the championships themselves and of course afterwards as Scotland will be showcased to the world. Many of the infrastructure improvements required, such as improving transportation, should be carried out anyway and should not be seen as a cost of hosting the championships.

Have the SFA learnt enough of a lesson to be able to mount a more realistic bid for EURO2012? Do they still have the stomach for the fight? Do fans in Scotland want to see the best in Europe play in Scotland? If the answers to those questions are '
Yes', you can play your part by contacting your MSP to get them to support the motion. EURO2012 - Why The Hell Not!

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