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Swiss eager to kick off Euro 2008

(Keystone)

Most Swiss look forward to hosting next year's European football championships, according to a survey released by the Federal Sport Office.

Nine out of ten of those polled consider the tournament, which is being co-hosted with Austria, the most important event of 2008. Most people are satisfied with preparations.

The competition is now showing on the Swiss public's radar. Two years ago only two-thirds of those polled had heard of Euro 2008, while that figure now reaches 90 per cent.

More than eight out of ten also have a positive opinion of the tournament, and slightly more believe it will be a sporting success.

People are much more doubtful however about the economic benefits brought by the competition, even though it is supposed to boost business with expected extra revenue of SFr1.5 billion ($1.33 billion) and the creation of 6,000 jobs.

Fewer than seven in ten reckon Euro 2008 will be a financial success, even if this figure is slightly higher than it was in 2005.

The Swiss are also sceptical about the cost-benefit result of the tournament. Only half of those surveyed hope Euro 2008 will rake in more money than the total outlay.

Despite these doubts, 87 per cent of those polled believe the championships will project a positive image of Switzerland abroad.

Good infrastructure

They also give the organisers top marks for the tournament infrastructure. Eight out of ten people think that the stadiums and public viewing areas are up to scratch.

The public areas are expected to be in strong demand, as was the case at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Twenty per cent said they wanted to see a match on a big screen, and slightly more are thinking about it.

Three-quarters of Swiss are confident that the organisers can put together a successful event, but a quarter still have concerns about security.

What's more, the organisers still have work to do, according to the poll. One in three people reckons that more has to be done to protect the environment and make Euro 2008 more sustainable.

And even if virtually every citizen knows about the tournament, almost half of those surveyed reckon there could be more information given out about the event.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

The poll was carried out between September 12 and October 12.
1,000 households were surveyed.
In each of the areas where matches are being held - Basel, Bern, Geneva and Zurich - 500 other households were polled.
This survey was first conducted two years ago.

end of infobox

Taxman calling

Footballers playing at Euro 2008 will see their competition bonuses taxed at source in Austria and Switzerland.

European football's governing body, Uefa, reached an agreement with the two countries on a 20 per cent levy.

It is impossible to say how much tax revenue will be generated since it is not clear yet how much players will earn.

This compromise was reached after negotiations between Uefa, the Swiss and Austrian authorities, the tournament organisers as well as the Swiss and Austrian football associations.

end of infobox


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