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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Monday, 13 May, 2002, 13:44 GMT 14:44 UK
City set for festival of football
George Square
George Square will host a two-day fan festival
The buzz is starting to build in Glasgow as the city gears up for the Uefa Champions League final.

Up to 75,000 football fans are expected to descend on the city when Real Madrid face Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday.

Hampden Park, on the south side of the city, will host the showpiece final, which is expected to be watched on TV by an estimated 300 million people.

Organisers want to use the chance to put Scotland in the spotlight.

And the city is planning a range of events for locals and the visitors who are already descending on Glasgow for the final.

Lord Provost Alex Mosson said the city was gearing up for a major celebration.

"Like the rest of my fellow citizens, I have been looking forward to this final for some time.

"I am sure that everyone will enjoy a match to remember and that our guests will take away great memories of fantastic bars, restaurants, shops, visitor attractions and nightlife that the city has to offer.

Media centre

"Glasgow prides itself on being a leading European city and as such, a fitting venue for this very special event," he said.

Journalists from a number of European countries have already arrived in the city, where they are setting up stall in a media centre at The Lighthouse.

The stadium itself holds 52,000 people - but up to 75,000 football lovers are expected to visit the city for the event.

"We would expect fans to come just to savour the atmosphere because there are a lot of fun activities taking place across the city," said a spokesman for Glasgow City Council.

Hampden Park
The stadium can hold 52,000 people
These events will be focussed on the city centre, where a fan festival will be held in George Square on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The attractions include the chance to take part in human table football on an inflatable pitch, the opportunity to put footballing skills to the test and the possibility of sampling PlayStation2 console games.

The event runs from 1200 to 2100 BST on Tuesday and from 1000 to 1800 on Wednesday.

However, a council spokesman told BBC News Online Scotland that, as things stood, there were no plans to show the match live on video screens in George Square.

The authority said last December that it was looking at the possibility of installing screens.

Range of activities

However, the council spokesman said there was "a big issue" with the weather.

The authority was still waiting to examine the more detailed three-day forecast, but was not at this stage planning to broadcast the match.

He added that there were already a range of activities taking place in the city centre - and stressed that most bars would be showing the game on their own screens.

"We want people to go in and use the pubs, use the restaurants, use the retailers," he said.

Raul, Real Madrid
Millions across the globe will watch the final
About 1,500 doormen working at licensed premises in the city have been supplied with t-shirts which welcome the teams' fans in Spanish and German.

Next to the ground there will be a special VIP area which will include marquees hosting functions arranged by the match sponsors.

Meanwhile, the trophy itself will be on show in the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden Park until Tuesday.

Events planned in the lead-up to the final include the Adidas team football event at the city's Holyrood Sports Centre, to which 6,000 school children have been invited.

Scottish band The Proclaimers will perform during the nine-minute opening ceremony, which has been organised by Scottish firm Unique Events.

It has been estimated that hosting the event will deliver a 20m financial boost for Glasgow, with motor company Ford alone spending an estimated 1m on advertising in the area.

BBC Scotland's Alan Mackay reports
"The people of Glasgow hope the visiting fans remember their trip"
BBC Scotland's Gillian Sharpe reports
"George Square will be the focus of much of the partying"
See also:

11 May 02 | Scotland
All roads lead to Hampden
15 Apr 02 | Scotland
Hampden pitch replaced
10 Dec 01 | Scotland
Big screen plans for champions final
19 Nov 01 | Scotland
City set for soccer windfall
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