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Glasgow launches bid to become a host city at Euro 2020

ANOTHER huge sporting event could be on its way to Glasgow as the SFA has announced it is to submit its bid for the city to become a host at Euro 2020.

The SFA announced today its bid for Glasgow and the national stadium Hampden Park, to become a host city on the competition's 60th anniversary.

They will formally submit the bid document to UEFA tomorrow and will discover whether it has been successful in September, when the UEFA Executive Committee meets to determine the 13 host cities.

The city will host the Commonwealth Games in the summer.

Campbell Ogilvie, Scottish FA President: "Firstly, I would like to thank everyone involved for their efforts in producing what I consider to be a first-class bid document that extols the many virtues of Scottish football, Glasgow and, of course, the National Stadium, Hampden Park.

"The National Stadium has played host to some of the greatest players and greatest games of all-time. Indeed, Scottish football and Hampden Park are synonymous with excellence on the European stage: from Celtic becoming the first British winners of the European Cup in 1967, Rangers winning the European Cup-winners' Cup in 1972 and Aberdeen doing likewise more than a decade later. 

"With the stadium demonstrating its versatility as the host venue for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games I am sure the whole country - and indeed football fans across Europe - would be thrilled by the prospect of the Hampden Roar providing its unique soundtrack to the European Championships in 2020. Of course, it would be equally special if the national team qualified for what will be a very special anniversary tournament, staged in 13 cities."

Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan is confident Glasgow will prove to be the best of the British Isles in its ability to be a host city for the European Championship in 2020.

London, Cardiff and Dublin will be among around 30 cities which will also formally submit bids to UEFA on Friday, with a decision being taken by the governing body's executive committee in September.

"There were 32 interested parties, we believe that is now down to below 30, and within that there is four bids from the UK and Ireland," said Regan.

"It is highly unlikely that there will be four winning bids from the UK and Ireland.

"Our job is to try to convince UEFA that Glasgow should be one of the preferred options for the UK and Ireland zone, if there is to be such a thing.

"Our view is that we have a compelling bid that proves that the Scottish FA can put on major events with its partners.

"We have demonstrated that Scotland has a lot to offer, not just in terms of tourism but in terms of infrastructure and we can stage major events, and that if there is to be a safe pair of hands, the Scottish FA would be viewed that way by UEFA and its executive committee."

The Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council, along with other agencies, have joined forces with the SFA to put together the bid for matches to be played at Hampden.

Regan, however, does not believe that Glasgow's rich football history and its renowned passion for the game makes the city a deserving case.

"I don't think it is about deserving it," he said. "It is about proving that you are the right bid at this particular time.

"I don't think anything can be handed to Scotland on a plate because we have a long history of playing football and we date back to 1873.

"This is about a bid that is A; compliant, and B; compelling enough to win the hearts and minds of UEFA's executive committee.

"I think we have done as much as we can do."

Regan is also positive about the 2016 European Championship, which will be held in France and which will be expanded to 24 countries.

The Scots' qualifying campaign starts in September with an away game in Germany, with Poland, Republic of Ireland, Georgia and Gibraltar also in Group D.

And with a five-game unbeaten run hoisting Gordon Strachan's side up to 22 in the FIFA rankings, Regan is optimistic about Scotland making the finals of a major tournament for the first time since the 1998 World Cup.

He said: "There will never be a better chance of qualifying now that there are 24 teams in the competition, and it is down to Gordon and the squad to prove that they can make it happen when it really counts.

"Gordon has built a real team spirit among his squad and being part of an opportunity to play in a major finals event is what every player dreams of.

"I see progress. Scotland have moved up the FIFA rankings to 22nd from in the 70s 18 months ago.

"That demonstrates that Gordon has started to turn things around.

"There is a lot of positivity around the squad right now and obviously we have to maintain that momentum.

"We have a friendly against Nigeria at Craven Cottage at the end of next month and then we move into the qualification campaign.

"The first match couldn't be a harder test, away to Germany in Dortmund, that will be a big test as we know.

"But the guys are certainly up for the campaign."

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