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Euro 2008 finds extra time for culture

Swiss football manager Köbi Kuhn kicks off "One-two" Keystone

Switzerland and Austria are launching a joint culture project to coincide with the 2008 European football championships.

“One-two” aims to promote cultural events in the neighbouring countries which are co-hosting the tournament.

The world’s third biggest sporting event should serve as a platform to showcase the two countries throughout Europe and bring them closer, the organisers said on Thursday.

They said Austria and Switzerland knew little about each other, despite their geographical proximity and shared history.

Among the proposals are a cartoon competition, exhibitions, concerts and comedy acts.

Broad appeal

The organisers said “One-two” was designed to attract football fans as well as those who are more interested in arts and culture.

The exhibitions and shows are to be staged in the eight sports stadiums, as well as outside the grounds before, during and after the tournament.

Four Swiss stadiums in the cities of Basel, Geneva, Zurich and Bern will host the football matches.

Martin Heller, artistic director of Switzerland’s national exhibition, Expo.02, is one of the promoters of the culture project.

The organisers hope to find private sponsors to cover most of the costs, estimated at €8 million (SFr12.4 million).

The Swiss Football Association said it welcomed the initiative, but would not contribute financially to the cultural events.

swissinfo with agencies

Euro 2008 is expected to generate sales of up to SFr545 million in Switzerland.
The country’s tourist industry is likely to be the main beneficiary.
The organisers said Euro 2008 would create at least 3,240 jobs in Switzerland.
In addition, 2,500 volunteers are expected to assist in the tournament.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR