UEFA announced the final tournament match schedule for UEFA EURO 2004™ in Portugal today at a ceremony in Porto which saw the signing of the ten stadium contracts for the tournament.
The schedule was announced by UEFA and Euro 2004, S.A. and has been approved by the UEFA Technical Committee and UEFA National Teams Committee as well as the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF). It also takes into account discussions with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
UEFA Chief Executive Gerhard Aigner said: "I am delighted that the contracts with the ten stadium owners have been signed at this time. It is a measure of the commitment shown by them to deliver the best facilities ever for a UEFA EURO final tournament."
Dr Gilberto Madaíl, president of the FPF and board chairman of EURO 2004, S.A., added: "I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to all those who have been involved in the construction of the ten stadiums, which has enabled us to sign the contracts and announce the match schedule today."
'Enthusiasm and excitement'
"It is an example of the enthusiasm and excitement that the Portuguese people feel for this great event," Dr Madaíl continued. "For the first time, all 31 matches of a UEFA EURO final tournament will be played in modern and exemplary stadiums, an achievement of which the Portuguese have every right to be proud."
Ten stadiums will host matches in the final round of European national team football's most prestigious tournament, another first for the competition. A key change from the match schedule of UEFA EURO 2000™ relates to the quarter-finals. At EURO 2000™ two quarter-final matches were played each day over two consecutive days, while at EURO 2004™ the quarter-finals will be played over four consecutive days, with one match each day.
The qualifying competition ends in October 2003, with the ten qualifying group winners joining hosts Portugal in the final round. Play-off matches between the ten group runners-up the following month will decide the remaining five final-round places. The final tournament draw will be held in Lisbon on 30 November.
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