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Wednesday, 22 December, 1999, 12:44 GMT
Scots pitch in to help World Cup bid

Scotland v England at Hampden Hampden is to host more international football in future

Glasgow should become a "temporary extension of England" to help England's 2006 World Cup bid, according to Celtic chief executive Allan MacDonald.

He has urged the English Football Association to include the 50,000-plus capacity stadiums at Parkhead, Ibrox and Hampden Park in its bid to host the prestige tournament.

Fifa will make its final decision next summer, with South Africa and Germany the strongest challengers.

Mr MacDonald told Celtic View magazine: "When sense prevails, hopefully the English FA will recognise the potential of Glasgow.

"The option could exist for them to make our city, horrible as it sounds, a temporary extension of England."

'No realistic likelihood'

Scottish FA president Jack McGinn has already declared his support for England but has accepted there are enough suitable stadiums south of the border for the entire competition to be held there.

SFA spokesman Andy Mitchell admitted the chances of Scotland hosting World Cup matches were slim.

"There is no realistic likelihood of Scotland's stadia being part of England's bid at this advanced stage," he said.

"They have invested very heavily in a large number of World Cup qualifying stadia of their own.

Parkhead Allan MacDonald wants to see World Cup games at Parkhead
"England quite clearly feel confident in bidding with their own stadia and see no need to extend into Scotland."

However, with three five-star stadiums in Glasgow - and the 2002 Champions League Final set for Hampden Park, Mr Mitchell said Scottish soccer fans can look forward to more international action in the future.

"When people talk about Scotland staging major competitions, they immediately think of World Cups and European Championships," he said.

"Next summer's European Championship in Belgium and Holland will use eight stadiums and I don't think you could get by with much less than that.

"But there are other competitions like the European Under 21 championship which could be held here and there are always other possibilities as UEFA looks to ease a crowded fixture list."

'An academic question'

Dominic Hayes, spokesman for the 2006 World Cup campaign, stressed that even if England had wanted to include the three Glasgow grounds in their bid, it was too late.

"The documents have already gone before Fifa, so in a sense it is an academic question," he said.

"Scotland is a geographical area of Great Britain but to what use that is put remains to be seen, it is not something we would wish to discuss at this stage.

"Our bid is an English one and we feel we have all the stadiums we need to be successful.

"There was talk about Scottish and Welsh stadiums being included when the project was first mentioned - but that didn't come from us."

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See also:
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Boost for Wembley scheme
01 Dec 99 |  AudioVideo
New Wembley "not fit for Olympics"
14 Dec 99 |  Sport
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16 Dec 99 |  Scotland
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11 Dec 99 |  Sport
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