Ferguson support key – Regan

first_imgSir Alex Ferguson’s backing for Scotland’s Euro 2020 bid has been hailed as a critical factor in Glasgow’s knife-edge victory over Cardiff. Both Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan and David Gill, the Manchester United director who is a UEFA executive committee member, believe former United manager Ferguson’s influence was key to Glasgow’s success. Regan said: “Sir Alex Ferguson came in last week with a video in support of our bid and spoke passionately about it and I am sure that must have helped. “We knew we had a strong bid. We focused on the fact this is the 60th anniversary and we focused on the history and heritage of football. We knew (UEFA president) Michel Platini was a football man and that’s what we played strongest on and that’s why we used Alex Ferguson. “It was football that has won the day. This is a tournament about 60 years of European football. We have had one of the most famous matches in European football at Hampden Park and we played heavily on that in our video and in our submission.” Gill added: “He was a key factor in that whole thing. Wales had a very good bid as well. “I don’t think it was the one factor but, clearly, it does help if you have someone like Alex promoting you. He’s a great advocate of football and Scottish football in particular.” The Scottish bid also played on the success of the recent Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. “Everyone saw what Glasgow was capable of with the Commonwealth Games and that really put Glasgow on the map – it was a huge factor and we used that in our film,” Regan said. Hampden Park won the right to host three group games and a last-16 match at the European Championship after beating Cardiff by a single ranking point in UEFA’s preferential voting system. London’s Wembley Stadium will stage the Euro 2020 semi-finals and final, while Dublin’s Aviva Stadium will also host three group games and a last-16 match. Wales are now expected to target hosting a Champions League final at the Millennium Stadium before 2020. Football Association of Wales chief executive Jonathan Ford said: “We are bitterly disappointed, but on the technical side we could not have put in a better bid.” “We have always talked to UEFA about other events and certainly I would hope with so many cities being used in 2016, 2018 and 2020 there will be other cities chosen to stage major events and that Wales will have one of those.” John Delaney, the chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland, said staging European Championship matches would be a huge boost to the sport in the country. Delaney said: “We put in a very good technical bid, we knew that and scored very well in the ranking. “It means everything to football in Ireland. It will be the biggest field sport event that will ever come to our country. “Years ago no-one thought we could do something like this – we would never have dreamt it.” UEFA is staging the tournament in 13 cities across Europe to mark the 60th anniversary of the first European Championship. The quarter-finals and three group matches will be held in Munich, Baku, Roma and St Petersburg. The other host cities, which will hold three group games and a last-16 game, are Copenhagen, Bucharest, Amsterdam, Bilbao, Budapest and Brussels. The group-game hosts will be guaranteed to play at least two games at home – if they qualify – but England’s group matches will be down to the luck of the draw, and they could even be drawn to play in Scotland. England will also have to qualify for the tournament. UEFA president Michel Platini believes there may have been some support for Scotland in tribute to David Taylor, the former SFA and UEFA executive, who died suddenly earlier this year. He said: “I think that David’s disappearance, in one way or another, has probably helped Scotland and the city of Glasgow. “I’m even convinced of it, knowing the approach of members of the ExCo and the work that David carried out for many years in Scottish and European football.” Delaney also paid tribute to the influence of Taylor’s memory. He said: “David was a great friend of mine and I hope he’s looking down on us. The last time I saw him was in April. I’m pleased for his family. It was always going to be Scotland or Wales and the Scots just nicked it.” Press Associationlast_img read more