The EURO2008 delegation from UEFA have moved on and will be carrying out a similar tour of inspection in other bidding countries. The facilities on offer in all seven bids will match up to the criteria set by UEFA. So when facilities are matched what else can help UEFA make a choice? Politics. The committee that will make the final decision in December all come from different countries and will have different agendas in mind when casting votes. The members of the committee are also closely linked to FIFA and some votes may be cast to put one over on the President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter from Switzerland. The seven bids will be culled down to two or three before December. Committee members from countries involved in a bid are unable to cast a vote until they no longer have a interest. That means, among others, UEFA president Lennart Johansson will have to stand aside as he comes from Sweden, which is heavily involved in the Nordic 2008 bid.
However, that has not stopped Johansson singing the praises of a country involved in a bid. He commented on Scotland's fervour for football in the preface to UEFA's review of the 2001-02 season which was published last week. The brochure, circulated to all 52 member countries, devotes eight pages to the success of Glasgow's hosting of the Champions League final. Johansson wrote: "I can honestly say that I have never seen a city throw itself into the organisation and celebration of a final with as much enthusiasm as the Scots. This may not be a huge nation nor a 'major market', but they are undoubtedly among the strongest in terms of passion for the game. I don't know what will happen to the UEFA Champions League, or to football as a whole during the next 10 years, but I do know that we have to protect and nurture that very special passion for the game."
The article headlined "Thank You, Scotland", went on to say "Glasgow's greatest triumph was finding ways of linking the massive commercial parameters of the event to the city's soul. The city of Glasgow has thrown itself heart and soul into making the final of the UEFA Champions League a thoroughly memorable event. And Glasgow is a city that has football written all over its heart and soul." With some UEFA officials already comparing Scotland's "football soul" with the "sterility" of the rival Swiss-Austrian bid, the joint bid may yet prove to be a winner. The key men with the votes to lobby for are Angel Maria Villar Llona (Spain), Geoffrey Thompson (England), Matthiu Sprengers (Holland), Marios Lefkaritis (Cyprus), Gerhard Mayer-Virfelder (Germany), Joseph Mifsud (Malta), Michel Platini (France), and Henri Roemer (Luxembourg).