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Ogi lobbies for prestige sports events

Adolf Ogi is seeking Austrian support for a joint bid to host the 2008 European football championships.

(Keystone / Fabrice Coffrini)

The Swiss president, Adolf Ogi, has been paying an official visit to Austria, partly as a goodwill trip before he retires, but more significantly to focus on Switzerland's moves to host prestigious international sports events.

He was expected to hold talks in Vienna with the president, Thomas Klestil, and other senior government officials. The trip is one of his last as a member of the government before he retires at the end of this month after 13 years in cabinet.

Ogi, whose cabinet post includes the sport portfolio, was also scheduled to meet leading sports figures to discuss a proposal for Austria and Switzerland to jointly host the 2008 European football championships.

The idea has been under discussion for several months. According to preliminary proposals, the big matches would take place at the largest football stadium in Vienna, with others shared between both countries.

Swiss press reports said Ogi would also be lobbying for Austria's support in Switzerland's campaign to host two other major sporting events.

Switzerland is hoping to stage the 2005 European Athletics championships in Zurich, as well as the World Ice Hockey championships in Bern and Zurich in the same year.

swissinfo with agencies

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