DUNDEE'S ambitious plans to become part of the joint

Scots-Irish bid for the 2008 European football championships were advanced yesterday when a judge gave the go-ahead for part of the city's common good land to be used to build a new football stadium.

If the joint bid is successful and Dundee is included, the stadium eventually will replace Dens Park and Tannadice as the home of both of the city's football clubs.

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The land in question, which forms a small part of Caird Park, was sold to the lord provost, magistrates and councillors of Dundee in 1913 as a public park and recreation ground for the use of local citizens. Before it can dispose of any of the land, the council has to apply to the Court of Session for permission.

The development site currently contains two rugby pitches and four holes of the Caird Park golf course, which will be replaced if the stadium plan goes ahead.

Four grounds have already been proposed to host games in Scotland - Hampden, Ibrox, Celtic Park and Murrayfield - and two more will be chosen from an upgraded Easter Road, a new stadium at Aberdeen and a new stadium at Dundee.

Apart from posing parking and access problems, Dundee's Dens Park and Dundee United's Tannadice are not big enough to host Euro 2008 games. The elliptical design of the new stadium would allow a permanent capacity of 20,000 to to be increased to 30,000 for games in 2008 and restored to 20,000 after the tournament ends.

A decision on the Scots-Irish bid is expected to be made by Uefa, the governing body for football in Europe, next month.

In the petition presented to Lord Dawson, Dundee City Council - backed in the new stadium bid by Dundee FC, Dundee United and Scottish Enterprise Tayside - stressed that the building of a new stadium would bring significant community, sporting and economic benefits for local people.

It would be close to ''peripheral'' housing estates and would enable both clubs to develop their football in community programmes with local schools, youth groups and businesses.

Lord Dawson authorised the council to dispose of the land and build the stadium, on condition the bid is successful and Dundee is on the shortlist.