City makes proud host

The city of Eindhoven is planning to host a number of events to tie in with the final.

Eindhoven is awash with pride as it prepares to host the 2006 UEFA Cup final, as they become the first Dutch city to be awarded a major club competition showpiece.

Historic match
The locals would be quick to point out that under the old system, where the finals were held over two legs, the Philips Stadion has savoured UEFA Cup joy. A 3-0 victory against SC Bastia earned PSV a famous win in their revered home, and Eindhoven mayor Alexander Sakkers believes this time round it will be the city, rather than it's football club, that enjoy the limelight. "We are very proud that Eindhoven has been rewarded with this huge honour," he told uefa.com. "We feel that it should be a real party for the whole Eindhoven population as the opportunity to experience the final in the stadium is obviously rather small."

'Proud as a peacock '
"This is why we will organise all kinds events towards the final," he added. "We see it as an opportunity to organise youth events, and we will show that Eindhoven is as proud as a peacock with this final." They were given some early indication for what was to come when the draw for the quarter-finals and semi-finals was held at the futuristic Evaluon building, when the UEFA Cup trophy was handed over to the city of Eindhoven. The sought-after silverware then began a tour of the Netherlands.

Youth tournament
To involve the whole community, and especially the youth, on Tuesday 9 May a UEFA youth tournament will be held in the FC Eindhoven stadium, with 130 children participating in three categories: 'minipups', mixed football, and G-Football (disabled players), from which the winners will be celebrated on the Philips stadium pitch and will be guests at the finals. Furthermore a drawing competition will be held among 70 Eindhoven schools, with the city and the stadium the main themes, with the winners will also be guest at the UEFA Cup final.

'Winning formula'
With PSV regulars in the UEFA Champions League, the city already has a lot of experience in handling a lot of fans coming to the city. "Fortunately Eindhoven already has a proven working formula in the national league and the Champions League," said Sakkers.

'Memorable match'
"We think that besides the match itself on 10 May, the whole exposure surrounding the final will no doubt make people interested in our city, and makes them pay visits to museums and other interesting sites in the city," he added. Certainly the enthusiasm and involvement of the whole community was one of the major reason for UEFA to appoint the final to Eindhoven. It promises to be a week to remember.

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