THE Scottish Football Association last night sought to downplay some of the shortcomings highlighted by Uefa in Glasgow’s bid to become a host venue for Euro 2020.
The SFA wants Hampden Park to host three group games and one match in the knock-out rounds of the tournament, which will be held in 13 cities around Europe to mark the 60th anniversary of the European Championship.
European football’s governing body yesterday published its evaluation report on the 19 cities bidding to win host status. The report is critical of the commercial part of the Scotland bid, decribing it as “inadequate” and “lacking clarity”. Glasgow’s accommodation proposals were also criticised. “The bidder has only presented three team hotels, though four were requested,” was the rather damning line contained in the Uefa report.
It added: “The commercial sector of the bid is inadequate, as the information provided lacks clarity. The amount of advertising space offered is vague.”
In contrast, glowing terms were reserved for the Football Association of Ireland for their proposal to use Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, which perhaps fared best from the report. Dublin’s accommodation proposals were deemed “very impressive”.
A spokesperson for the SFA sought to play down the criticism from Uefa, insisting the ‘commercial sector’ comments effectively related to advertising hoardings in the city. In terms of hotels, the staging of the Commonwealth Games demonstrated that Glasgow had the necessary accommodation to become a host city, claimed the SFA.
“We have reiterated to them that requirements in respect of commercial matters as described in the evaluation report will be met in full,” the SFA spokesman said.
A number of the other bids were given harsh appraisals and it is believed that the SFA bid will compete with that of Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, the Parken stadium in Copenhagen and San Mames stadium in Bilbao for three available slots, with 10 other cities appearing certain to succeed.
Glasgow’s transport links and the proposals for fan zones found favour, whereas Cardiff’s limited flight options were considered a problem. A further potential complication was offered up as regards the independence referendum on 18 September. Although this was seized upon by the media yesterday, in reality it is unlikely a Yes vote would be a stumbling block for Hampden.
The report said: “Scotland being part of the UK, the legal situation is mostly – but not entirely – identical to that of England and Wales. This situation may have to be reassessed should Scotland become independent of the UK.”
This could be the least of the SFA’s concerns, with Uefa also stating that in terms of stadium parking and hospitality boxes their requirements were only “partly met”. It must be said that the same term is deployed for the parking at the Aviva Stadium, but otherwise the general tenor of the language used about the Dublin bid is more positive.
The evaluation report on the FA’s Wembley Stadium bid is generally positive and similar to that received by Munich, although the proposed fan zone outside of central London is rated as only “satisfactory” and plans for fan zones in other English cities as “very weak”.
Munich’s fan zone proposal is rated as “attractive” but plans for fan zones in other German cities are also rated as “weak”. Wembley is regarded as the favourite to host the final after the German FA announced it may not push hard for Munich in order to concentrate on a German bid to host the entire Euro 2024 tournament.
Uefa’s executive committee will vote on the host cities on 19 September.