Scotland and Ireland are confident that their stadiacapacity offers them an edge over their rivals in the bidding race to host the 2008 European Championship finals.

Bid director Jon Henderson said in London today that new financial arrangements for the European finals made ticket income a more significant issue for UEFA, the European governing body. Scotland and the Irish Republic are one of a number of co-host bids for the finals.

Favourite status is enjoyed by the Austria/Switzerland bid with Scots and Irish vying with the four-way Scandinavian bid for second place.

Henderson said, at a bid progress update in London: “We are confident we have not only a strong bid in terms of the boxes ticked bur that the football passion shown by the Irish and Scottish fans is a plus factor. We understand UEFA was impressed by the way Glasgow and its people welcomed the Champions League Final back in May and that must count in our favour.”

In the past ticket income has been retained by the host country. From 2008, however, it will go into a central financial pool held by UEFA with contributory expenditure allocations being returned to the hosts.

Henderson said: “The stadia we areproposing to use (six in Scotland, two in Ireland) mean we will have 1.7million tickets for fans – which is around 500,000 more than either the Scandinavian bid or Austria/Switzerland. We think this is significant.”
By Keir Radnedge