Still sulking about losing out of EURO2008, David Taylor, SFA chief executive, wants UEFA to act to ensure that the sense of injustice felt by the Celtic bid team after the failure of their campaign is never experienced by other member countries in future. We all know that Scotland and the Republic of Ireland's joint bid to host the tournament was given short shrift in Geneva last December. Taylor does not want to bleat that the best bid did not win. However, he expressed his frustration at how that verdict was reached. Feeling defeated by the politics of the existing system, Taylor reckons that UEFA must introduce a pre-screening process to prevent wasted time and expense.
Don't mention Murphy's
All the failed bidders effectively wasted their money. If the criteria for winning the vote was clearer, fewer countries would invest vast sums only to lose out on the whim of a committee member. Taylor thinks that UEFA should establish the region of the continent in which they wish the tournament to be held and specify their priorities in terms of what bids must contain. By 2008, we would have had four five-star stadiums — Hampden Park, Ibrox, Celtic Park and Murrayfield — compared with Hungary's one. This led to the Celtic bid achieving a high technical assessment score. However, this counted for nothing when the votes that mattered were cast. In the early rounds of the voting, supporters of the Austria/Switzerland campaign sided with Hungary regardless meaning Scotland and Irelands bid was quickly dismissed. Taylor said: "If we are to get involved again, one of the things we have learned is that there must be clearer rules. The stadiums we’ve got were better and they should be placing greater store on these criteria rather than set up these criteria then basically have a free discussion and say, 'vote for whom you like'.
Taylor went on: "We're still talking to UEFA about it, just in a consultative sense, that in future we'd want much clearer guidelines to be established. We set out the issues to UEFA. The last thing we want to be seen to be doing is crying over spilt milk, the decision is made and we accept it, but I think the process could be handled better in future". Taylor admitted that he retains a feeling of personal disappointment, as much of the SFA's future planning was centred around EURO2008. Taylor was in Turkey last week and said: "It was a good project for us in terms of the regeneration of Scottish football. To have something out there in six years' time to aim for, as an organisation and as a team, was the big idea I liked about it. It was going to be the catalyst for quite a lot of change in the game. But unfortunately it wasn't to be". But as he watches the scrutiny that the successful bid will be under until the final whistle goes in 2008, he may be glad we lost out.