Regan backs Glasgow bid

  • Last Updated: April 24 2014, 17:13 BST

Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan is confident Glasgow will prove to be the best of the British Isles in its ability to be a host city for the European Championship in 2020.

Stewart Regan (left) has put forward the case for Glasgow
Stewart Regan (left) has put forward the case for Glasgow

Regan was at Hampden Park on Thursday to launch the bid for Scotland's football capital to become one of the 13 cities across Europe in which the revamped tournament will take place when it celebrates its 60th anniversary.

London, Cardiff and Dublin will be among around 30 cities which will also formally submit bids to UEFA on Friday, with a decision being taken by the governing body's executive committee in September.

"There were 32 interested parties, we believe that is now down to below 30, and within that there is four bids from the UK and Ireland," said Regan.

"It is highly unlikely that there will be four winning bids from the UK and Ireland.

"Our job is to try to convince UEFA that Glasgow should be one of the preferred options for the UK and Ireland zone, if there is to be such a thing.

"Our view is that we have a compelling bid that proves that the Scottish FA can put on major events with its partners.

"We have demonstrated that Scotland has a lot to offer, not just in terms of tourism but in terms of infrastructure and we can stage major events, and that if there is to be a safe pair of hands, the Scottish FA would be viewed that way by UEFA and its executive committee."

The Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council, along with other agencies, have joined forces with the SFA to put together the bid for matches to be played at Hampden.

Regan, however, does not believe that Glasgow's rich football history and its renowned passion for the game makes the city a deserving case.

"I don't think it is about deserving it," he said. "It is about proving that you are the right bid at this particular time.

"I don't think anything can be handed to Scotland on a plate because we have a long history of playing football and we date back to 1873.

"This is about a bid that is A; compliant, and B; compelling enough to win the hearts and minds of UEFA's executive committee.

"I think we have done as much as we can do."

Regan is also positive about the 2016 European Championship, which will be held in France and which will be expanded to 24 countries.

The Scots' qualifying campaign starts in September with an away game in Germany, with Poland, Republic of Ireland, Georgia and Gibraltar also in Group D.

And with a five-game unbeaten run hoisting Gordon Strachan's side up to 22 in the FIFA rankings, Regan is optimistic about Scotland making the finals of a major tournament for the first time since the 1998 World Cup.

The Yorkshireman said: "There will never be a better chance of qualifying now that there are 24 teams in the competition, and it is down to Gordon and the squad to prove that they can make it happen when it really counts.

"Gordon has built a real team spirit among his squad and being part of an opportunity to play in a major finals event is what every player dreams of.

"I see progress. Scotland have moved up the FIFA rankings to 22nd from in the 70s 18 months ago.

"That demonstrates that Gordon has started to turn things around.

"There is a lot of positivity around the squad right now and obviously we have to maintain that momentum.

"We have a friendly against Nigeria at Craven Cottage at the end of next month and then we move into the qualification campaign.

"The first match couldn't be a harder test, away to Germany in Dortmund, that will be a big test as we know.

"But the guys are certainly up for the campaign."