Category: Archive

Euro zeroes! Irish bid to host Euro soccer roundly rejected

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Following endless spin emphasizing the good behavior of the Irish and Scottish supporters, the positive impression created by the new Croke Park stadium (somehow the fact that spanking new ground wasn’t actually open for soccer was sidelined) and a rising Celtic tide, it emerged minutes before the final decision in Geneva, Switzerland, that the bid had reached the last two.
Later, when Austria and Switzerland had secured the rights to stage the championships, it emerged that the Celtic bid hadn’t even made the final four contenders. Cue damage limitation, as the Celts began to mutter that they’d been the victims of devious political machinations within European soccer’s governing body, the UEFA.
The truth was that the bid was doomed from the outset. How could a country like Ireland be a credible candidate to host a tournament that is touted as the world’s third largest sporting event? Apart the small matter of facilities — no national stadium, no access to Croke Park for soccer and a dilapidated Lansdowne Road — there is also the issue of an wholly impoverished attitude to sports infrastructure in Ireland.
The bid was sheer opportunism. There had been no adequate planning or preparation. Remember, the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, was not so long ago paying the GAA handsomely so that soccer would be kept out of Croke Park in order to facilitate the building of his pet project Stadium Ireland. When Stadium Ireland was revealed as expensive white elephant, Ahern was then pleading with the GAA to open its doors to soccer so that the Celtic bid for 2008 would have a chance of success.
With that sort of policy, is it any wonder that the Scotland-Ireland proposal is no regarded as bad joke. Remember also, that the Football Association of Ireland, which in the last month was castigated for its inefficiencies by an independent consultant, was to co-organize Euro 2008. The FAI currently has no chief executive, no international manager and no stadium in which to play its games.
And we thought we were in with a shout.

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