Stadium is just fantasy

HeadLine: STADIUM IS JUST A FANTASY

The Mirror, 17/09/2002, p16 & 17
by SHAUN MILNE

EUROPE’S soccer chiefs flew into a shambles among the shamrocks
yesterday.
Officials arrived in Dublin to run the rule over Scotland and Ireland’s
stuttering joint bid to host the Euro 2008 football championships.
The top delegation from the European game’s governing body UEFA were
given a tour of a ground they can’t use, one that doesn’t yet exist,
and another in dire need of a facelift.
And the same team are expected to be confronted by a whole new set of
problems when they visit Scotland today.
Residents fighting plans for superstadium on Aberdeen green-belt land
are to mount a high-profile protest.
Despite an apparent descent into farce, UEFA delegate Mike Lee,
insisted the Celtic bid is “still in the race”.
The Irish portion of the bid was thrown into chaos last week when plans
to build a new national stadium were shelved over funding problems.
UEFA bosses yesterday visited the proposed site of the now in-doubt
Stadium Ireland.
The tour also took in Croke Park, which the Gaelic Athletic Association
say cannot be used, as well as crumbling Lansdowne Road, the home of
the Irish Rugby Football Union.
However, Prime Minister Bertie Ahern told the team private funding
could now be in the pipeline for the new Stadium Ireland.
Bid director John Henderson was confident the UEFA team liked what they
heard.
He said: “They asked some searching questions but our bid is extremely
robust.”
Mr Lee, UEFA’s director of communications was joined on the tour by the
body’s senior product manager Jurgen Muller.
And Mr Lee admitted that there were still “loose ends” to the
Scotland-Ireland bid.
Bid bosses, including the Scottish Football Association’s David Taylor
will hope to make more headway today.
Scotland can already boast magnificent stadia including Hampden Park,
Murrayfield, Ibrox and Celtic Park.
But it is hoped that UEFA will see past problems plaguing Aberdeen’s
stadium plans when they visit fans in the Granite City and Dundee.
Main rivals Austria an Switzerland’s joint bid has been hit by recent
crowd violence.
* The Euro 2008 hosts are expected to be announced in December.

**

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Categories: Daily Mirror articles

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