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        Euro 2008 bid boosted as Ireland plans new national stadium
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THE joint Scottish-Irish bid for the Euro 2008 football championships received a boost last night when Ireland's coalition government agreed to build a new national stadium.
The plans by the Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, for a giant sports campus project on the outskirts of Dublin appeared doomed before last month's general election as his coalition partners, the Progressive Democrats (PDs), presented firm opposition.

But after Mr Ahern's Fianna Fail party and the PDs made electoral gains and agreed to re-enter government together, it was announced last night that a "world-class national stadium" would be built.

Jack McConnell, Scotland's First Minister, described the decision as "great news" which added further momentum to the joint bid.

"I will be in touch with Bertie Ahern shortly to see how we can make further progress," he added.

The new stadium, which could be a scaled-down version of Mr Ahern's planned "Bertie Bowl" complex, is seen as a vital part of the joint bid, which would see Ireland provide two stadiums and Scotland six.

The Irish Rugby Football Union had refused to open Lansdowne Road for the tournament unless the new stadium was built.

Another major stadium, the 80,000-seater Croke Park in north Dublin, is currently ruled out because its owner, the Gaelic Athletic Association, only permits Gaelic games to be played at the ground.

In their programme for government, finalised by Mr Ahern and Mary Harney, the PD leader last night, they said: "We will start work on the construction of a world-class national stadium. We will build facilities... which will serve the needs of the sporting bodies both nationally and locally.

"The minister for sport, in conjunction with Campus and Stadium Ireland Development, the national sporting bodies and the Office of Public Works will bring forward the plans and implementation proposals of these policies in the most cost-effective way as soon as possible."

Scotland can provide Hampden, Ibrox, Celtic Park and Murrayfield - home of Scottish rugby.

Two more venues will be selected from a new ground in Aberdeen, a joint stadium in Dundee and the redevelopment of Easter Road, in Edinburgh.

Outline planning permission for the 30,000-seater Dundee stadium was given by the city's planning committee last month. Scotland and Ireland officially lodged their bid last week with football's European ruling body, UEFA. A final decision on who will host the tournament is due to be made by UEFA in December.

Although the new Irish stadium is expected to be smaller than that originally planned a spokeswoman for Sports Minister Jim McDaid said: "The minister will be aware of UEFA's capacity requirements for games in the tournament."

The spokeswoman added that consultations and discussions on the stadium would resume in Dublin when the new government appointed its next sports minister.

The Irish decision will end the months of uncertainty that has surrounded the joint bid which was agreed earlier this year after Mr McConnell decided that Scotland could not afford to go it alone with a single application.

Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, recently agreed to act as the bid's ambassador.By: David Scott Date: 05-Jun-02

Note: All opinions expressed above are that of the author and in no way respresent any club, organisation or disorganisation

Total Posts: 458 | Joined Sep. 2001 | Posted on: 12:20 pm on June 5, 2002 | IP

Fresh ideas
We are a Cork City fanzine with a monthly edition. Our next issue will be for the first home game of the new season against Shelbourne.

The topic of the 2008 bid is not getting much press in Ireland at the moment. If anyone is interested in putting together a small piece, we would be more than happy to print it.


A Cork City Fanzine

Total Posts: 1 | Joined June 2002 | Posted on: 12:42 pm on June 13, 2002 | IP

Opinionated Wind Bag
there we go lads any budding journalists among us maybe ianblack could do a wee piece perfect oppurtuntity to get message across to irish fans


Total Posts: 158 | Joined Nov. 2001 | Posted on: 1:21 pm on June 13, 2002 | IP

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