With less than a year to go until the final of UEFA EURO 2004™, the events' organisers are planning to spread the word about the coming celebration of football.
The company that has been set up to run the tournament, Euro 2004, S.A., has been drumming up interest in the tournament in Portugal, and at a recent press conference, the chairman of the Euro 2004, S.A. board Gilberto Madaíl said that he hoped that the whole nation would become involved in the tournament.
"The outlying areas of the countries that host these kinds of events are sometimes forgotten by organisers, and that is something that our organisation is monitoring closely," he said. "We have the slogan 'Vive o 2004' ('live 2004') and we want to widen the tournament to include the whole country.
Spreading the news
"To minimise that feeling of regions being left out was to spread the training centres around the whole country," he added. "It is not up to football to solve the country's problems, but we can try to ease them. There are remote villages where the regional press has a fundamental communication role and we want them to help spread the news."
'Source of pride'
Madaíl made it clear that Euro 2004, S.A., a joint venture set up by UEFA and the Portuguese Football Federation, believed that the tournament would play a fundamental role in shaping international perception of Portugal. "EURO 2004™ is the biggest marketing operation since the 16th century voyages of discovery, except that in those days there was no press," he said. "The finals will be a source of pride to the whole Portuguese nation."
Euro 2004, S.A. board member Ângelo Brou echoed Madaíl's words as he briefed reporters on the tournament's commercial progress. "The tournament creates huge responsibilities for the whole country," he said. "Expo '98 was a huge project but EURO 2004™ will be an even bigger one. Fulfilling the demands of the competition will allow Portugal to bid for more international events in the future."
Brou said that the host cities for the finals would bear a particularly heavy burden. Saying that the tournament was part of Portugal's policy to boost the tourism industry, he insisted that the cities would be called upon to showcase what the country has to offer in the coming months and during the finals.
Tournament director, António Laranjo, briefed the audience with an update on the stadiums, transportation networks, training centres, volunteer programme, security and ticketing services which will service the tournament, before the head of the press and public relations division, António Florêncio, unveiled the accreditation procedure.
Accreditation for the media, he announced, will largely be via the tournament's website and the organisers will begin processing requests on 30 November 2003, and will continue to accept applications until 15 January 2004. UEFA and Euro 2004, S.A. will contact each candidate to inform them whether their application has been successful.
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