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Government's Euro bill less than expected

The cost of this summer's Euro 2008 football tournament to Switzerland's federal government is about ten per cent less than expected, officials said on Thursday.

Federal authorities had allocated SFr82.5 million ($68.5 million) for the June tournament but spent SFr74.25 million.

That's still far more than the SFr3.5 million that the government had originally planned to contribute to the event, which was hosted by cities across Switzerland and Austria.

Samuel Schmid, the outgoing cabinet minister responsible for the sport portfolio, said that security measures during the 23-day football tournament were successful, and that authorities had learned lessons for hosting events of a similar scale in the future.

During a media conference in Bern, officials said Euro 2008 also brought in just under SFr4.3 million in tax revenues levied on players' earnings from the matchups.

The final report also said hosting the country's largest-ever sporting event improved the image of Switzerland abroad. It also mentioned "less rosy aspects" including the lack of any sustained macroeconomic effects.

Poland and the Ukraine will host the tournament, the third largest in the world, in 2012.

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