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Switzerland and Austria to launch joint Euro 2008 bid

Schmid and Riess-Passer look to the success of the joint Austrian-Swiss bid

(Keystone)

Switzerland and Austria have declared their intention to present a joint bid to host the 2008 European football championship finals. The announcement came on Thursday following a meeting in Bern between the Swiss sports minister, Samuel Schmid, and his Austrian counterpart, Susanne Riess-Passer.

Riess-Passer said Switzerland was Austria's first choice as partner.

She said another neighbour, Hungary, had not approached Austria about a possible joint bid following the failure of their joint application to host the 2004 championships.

The ministers said they believed Austria and Switzerland had the right political conditions and infrastructure to stage the event and expressed their confidence that the project would win the support of both national parliaments.

The ball now lies in the court of the two national football federations, which are due to meet in Bern in March.

Outlining the advantages of the joint bid, Riess-Passer said Austria already had a large sports stadium in Vienna and planned to build several more.

New stadiums are also being built in Switzerland, thanks to a credit of SFr80 million ($47.3 million) approved by parliament, with the new Basel stadium due to open shortly.

Schmid said a successful joint bid would have long-term benefits. "A joint candidature can only have a beneficial impact on sport in both countries," he said.

It's not clear where the final match of the tournament would be held if the joint bid were to succeed.

swissinfo with agencies


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