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Scotland and Ireland pressing ahead with Euro 2008 bid

© Reuters 2002

GLASGOW, Jan 31 (Reuters) - The Scottish Football Association said on Thursday they had made "considerable progress" in their plans to submit a joint bid to host Euro 2008 with Ireland.

Any bid has to be received by UEFA, European soccer's governing body, by the end of February. A number of proposals are already planned. The other candidates are a joint bid from Austria and Switzerland, a joint bid from Bosnia and Croatia, a four-way joint Nordic bid from Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway, a joint bid from Greece and Turkey and single bids from Hungary and Russia.

UEFA are expected to take a decision in December and spokesman Mike Lee says: "So far we are very pleased with the level of interest shown in hosting Euro 2008 and it is clear it will be a very competitive bidding process." After a meeting of officials from both Scotland and Ireland at Hampden Park, SFA chief executive David Taylor said he was sure both countries are capable of hosting a successful event in six years time.

He said: "I am very encouraged that we have made considerable progress in setting up the organisational structure for the bid, and have agreed one vision, one aim and one set of objectives.

"We will work together to submit a high-quality bid and run a professional campaign that will highlight Scotland and Ireland's position as suitable host nations for Euro 2008.

"I have no doubt that we will be able to run a successful tournament, both commercially and organisationally, and that it will be enjoyed by millions."

Discussions were held on tournament venues and match schedules and Taylor said a steering committee will be set up, comprising officials from the SFA and FAI together with the Scottish Executive and Irish Government.

Belgium and the Netherlands jointly staged the 2000 tournament while Portugal is the sole host for 2004.

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