The countdown to the day that UEFA make their decision on EURO2008 continues. A week tomorrow, UEFA's Executive Committee will allow the 7 contenders to make their final presentations with the Scotland and Ireland team being last in line. David Taylor, SFA Chief Executive, will be donning the kilt once more to make the all important speech. After such a long lead up time it is strange to think that the decision is so close. I should have known that the time was near as high profile supporters of the joint bid have been making supportive statements to the media. Latest in line in Kenny Dalglish who has urged UEFA to give Scotland and Ireland the chance to host the EURO2008.
Listen to what the man says
While there is support for the money to be invested in EURO2008 to be redirected to the grass roots of the game, Dalglish believes hosting the competition would give Scottish football a boost similar to that experienced by England after hosting Euro 96. He is confident that the championships would generate finance for clubs to help start their own academies. This would allow more home bred players the chance to flourish. Dalglish said: "The Scottish system has good quality young players at 15 or 16, but after that there isn't that much development. Why not is the 64,000 dollar question. Everybody knows Scottish football isn't going through too good a phase but it would be a great incentive for everyone to get together and do something about it. It would also give the kids a great lift, something to look forward to. It would be a light at the end of the tunnel."
The UEFA inspection delegation were impressed by the facilities currently available. Other key UEFA officials were also impressed by the handling of the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkeusen in Glasgow. The display of welcome for the fans of both clubs by Scottish fans of football did not go unnoticed either. Dalglish said: "Both sets of fans (Scottish and Irish) have been acclaimed for the way they have conducted themselves at various championships around the world and if the authorities want to reward them for their good behaviour it's a nice way for them to show that. The fans of both countries have a special passion and love their football." The former Celtic and Liverpool star added: "I think there is no doubt EURO96 helped England. The nation really got together behind the team and it did a lot for the development of the young players. It's starting to bear fruit with some of the kids who are coming through now." Anything England can do surely we can do better. EURO2008? Why the hell not!