Sold-out Euro 2008 ready to be the best yet

June 1st, 2008 - 10:26 pm ICT by admin  

Vienna, June 1 (DPA) The stage is set for the start of the European Championships as the first teams arrived Sunday for the start of the tournament in Austria and Switzerland. “Everything is in place for this to be the best tournament ever,” UEFA’s Euro 2008 chief executive Martin Kallen said in Vienna.

Kallen, meanwhile, warned against black-market ticket sales, saying all 1.05 million tickets had been sold for the 31 matches and anyone buying a ticket now would be doing so illegally.

“All of the tickets have been sold - there is not a single ticket left, and there has not been for a while,” he said.

“We are obviously trying to prevent tickets being sold, but any tickets sold at this point are black-market tickets. I would recommend that no-one sells tickets on the black market, as there will be sanctions.”

The two hosts nations are confident of a party atmosphere.

Around five million visitors are expected for the tournament between June 7 and 29, with matches being screened at around 400 public viewing events - and even the weather predicted to be on their side.

“Of course, we have done some long-term forecasts. It will be a bit colder with some thunder in the coming week but then it will be fine,” Kallen said.

Everything was now in place, with merely the finishing touches being added to the eight venues in Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Salzburg, Vienna, Basle, Berne, Geneva and Zurich, as well as the fan zones in the two countries.

“The first teams have arrived, and preparations are going smoothly. We are ready, and everything has been working according to plan,” Kallen said.

Portugal and Turkey, who are Group A opponents, were the first teams due to check in at their team bases in Neuchatel and Geneva, Switzerland, respectively. Poland and Italy will Monday be the first Austrian-based teams to set up base.

Spain will the last of the 16 finalists to arrive when they check into their Tyrol headquarters on Thursday. By UEFA rules, teams must arrive at their team bases five days ahead of the first games.

Austria’s tournament director Christian Schmoelzer said the organisers were “in the starting blocks” for the tournament, which kicks off on Saturday when Switzerland play Czech Republic in a Group A game in Basle.

“All the different pieces are falling into place,” he said. “All of the different locations in the two host countries have lived up to expectations in terms of security and infrastructure - both decisive elements in them winning their bid (to stage the tournament).”

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