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Portugal to be proud hosts

Published: Tuesday 20 May 2003, 18.33CET
The Euro 2004, S.A. board heard that preparations are running smoothly for next summer's finals.
Published: Tuesday 20 May 2003, 18.33CET

Portugal to be proud hosts

The Euro 2004, S.A. board heard that preparations are running smoothly for next summer's finals.
The Euro 2004, S.A. board heard that preparations were running smoothly for UEFA EURO 2004™ at Monday's board meeting.

Lisbon talks
The meeting at the Euro 2004, S.A. headquarters in Lisbon was attended by chairman Gilberto Madaíl, vice-president Mathieu Sprengers, executive board members Lars-Ake Lagrell and Lars-Christer Olsson, chief operations officer Martin Kallen and EURO 2004™ tournament director António Laranjo.

Security issues
The comprehensive 16-point agenda covered issues from security arrangements at the tournament's ten venues to preparations for the final draw which will take place on 30 November at the Pavilhão Atlântico in Lisbon.

Ahead of schedule
In the subsequent press conference, Madaíl was delighted to report on the success of the tournament's volunteer programme. "We are very happy with the current figures from the volunteer programme," he said. "We have had 3,200 applications - a number that corresponds to more than half the organisational needs for the event, with more than a year to the start of the tournament. Our expectations were exceeded by 50 per cent compared to our estimates for the first four months of 2003."

'Overwhelming support'
Asked whether these numbers reflected Portuguese pride in hosting the finals, Madaíl said: "Since the day we submitted our bid for hosting the event, the support has been overwhelming. Eighty-five per cent of Portuguese people understand what an honour it is for us to host such an event. This tournament is not just an expense, as it brings in income. There are other assets that are not measurable, like our self-esteem."

New stadiums
Madaíl, also president of the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF), provided an update on the progress of building work on the tournament's ten brand-new venues, saying: "There are stadiums slightly behind schedule, but we are sure they will be ready on the 30 September 2003."

Available benefits
Meanwhile, board member and UEFA Professional Football and Marketing director, Lars-Christer Olsson, released some figures from a financial study concerning the benefits to Portugal of staging the finals. The figures estimated the international promotional value at €796m; with the projected figures revealing that Portugal stood to gain between €179m and €357m each year for the five to six years following the tournament.

Boost to economy
The study also predicted that tourists coming to Portugal only to watch EURO 2004™ matches would spend an estimated €266m, and said that in terms of international publicity for the tourism industry in these locations, the event was worth about €290m to the host cities. It added that building the venues for EURO 2004™, and the jobs the tournament has created, represented the biggest new source of employment in the country and a €244m boost to Portugal's economy.

Next meeting
The next Euro 2004, S.A. Board of Administrators meeting is scheduled for 15 September 2003.

Last updated: 21/05/03 14.13CET

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