SCOTTISH football’s governing body has launched its bid to host some of the best players in the world by staging matches at the prestigious Uefa European Championships in 2020.
The Scottish Football Association (SFA) described its proposal to have Glasgow as one of the tournament’s host cities as “first class” and recalled the history of Hampden Park in some of the sport’s seminal moments down the decades.
Although the tournament normally takes place in one country, 2020 will mark its 60th anniversary and Uefa, the governing body for European football, plans to commemorate the occasion by having 13 cities across the continent take part.
The selected cities will host three group games and one knock-out match, with another city chosen to host the semi-finals and final. The team behind the Glasgow bid will find out in September whether their bid – which will officially be tendered today – has been successful.
As part of its entry, the SFA have emphasised the “rich history and heritage” Hampden Park has in world football, hosting the famous European Cup final of 1960 which saw Real Madrid triumph over Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3.
It was also the venue when Zinedine Zidane scored what is regarded as one of the best goals in a Champions League final, when Real returned to Scotland to win the trophy against Bayer Leverkusen in 2002.
Hampden Park was the chosen venue for the 2007 Uefa Cup all-Spanish final between Sevilla and Espanyol, and will attract global attention this summer when it hosts the track and field events at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
SFA president Campbell Ogilvie said the folio sent to Uefa represented a “first class bid document that extols the many virtues of Scottish football, Glasgow and, of course, Hampden Park”.
He added: “The national stadium has played host to some of the greatest players and greatest games of all time. Indeed, Scottish football and Hampden Park are synonymous with excellence on the European stage – Celtic becoming the first British winners of the European Cup in 1967, Rangers winning the European Cup-winners’ Cup in 1972 and Aberdeen doing likewise more than a decade later.
“With the stadium demonstrating its versatility as the host venue for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games, I am sure the whole country – and indeed football fans across Europe – would be thrilled by the prospect of the Hampden roar providing its unique soundtrack to the European Championships in 2020.
“Of course, it would be equally special if the national team qualified for what will be a very special anniversary tournament, staged in 13 cities.”
On Wednesday, Poland and the Czech Republic withdrew from the race to host matches for the tournament. The Czech FA blamed the lack of financial guarantees from city authorities, while Poland’s football federation backed out after claiming the prospects of its two potential venues being successful were “minimal”.
However, 28 other football associations are still in the running, including England, Wales and Ireland.
Shona Robison, the minister for sport and the Commonwealth Games, said although there was a “competitive field” with numerous cities vying to host matches, Scotland boasted “strong partnership working” with a “track record in major events”.
She said: “This isn’t a bid just for Glasgow but a bid for the whole of Scotland. Hosting part of Uefa Euro 2020 provides a perfect opportunity to continue our national legacy from both Glasgow 2014 and a platform to showcase our culture and country to an international audience.”
Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council, added: “This is a real opportunity to bring some of Europe’s top football stars to Glasgow, support our national game and benefit the economy.”