Government supports bid to host European championships

Scotland will bid to host one of the UEFA Women’s European Championships in 2019, Minister for Public Health and Sport Aileen Campbell has announced.

If the bid for either the Under-19 or Under-17 tournaments is successful it would be the first time the nation has hosted an international youth football final tournament since the Under-16s world championships in 1998.

Formal bids will be submitted by the Scottish Football Association next week. The four proposed stadia are St Mirren Park in Paisley, McDiarmid Park in Perth, the Tony Macaroni Arena in Livingston and East End Park in Dunfermline.

The Scottish Government says it has thrown its weight behind the bids with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Patron of the Women’s National Team, having written a letter of support. UEFA is expected to make a decision on the successful hosts for these two events in December.

Ms Campbell said: “Coming off the back of Scotland’s Women qualifying for the senior European Championships this caps off an exciting week for women’s sport. It would be tremendous if we could secure one of these championships, which would help to further promote the women’s game in Scotland.

“This bid highlights our commitment to sporting equality and to bringing much-needed recognition to women’s sport, especially as it would be in the same year as we host golf’s Solheim Cup.

“Women’s football is growing in popularity in Scotland and I’m confident that we will be able to put together a strong bid to host these tournaments.

“It will also help build momentum towards Glasgow hosting both Group and ‎Round 16 matches as part of the 60th anniversary edition of the men’s UEFA European Football Championships – UEFA EURO 2020.”

In her letter, the First Minister, pointed to Scotland’s track record in holding successful events, including two European football finals in 2002 and 2007 and the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

She said: “Our attendances are among the highest per capita in Europe. Tens of thousands of people play the game regularly. Our national association and clubs also have a range of pioneering programmes which are aimed at people with special needs or requirements, increasing participation or delivering wider outcomes. As you know, Scotland will play a role in the staging of UEFA Euro 2020, hosting games in the Group Stage and Round of 16. Government is working closely with the Scottish FA to ensure the games at Hampden Park are a spectacular success and I am confident they will be, thanks in part to the famous hospitality and humour of Scottish supporters.”