Road work delays may cause Euro 2004 games to be rescheduled

  • Other Sport
  • Wednesday, 21 Jan 2004

LISBON: Matches at the June European football Championships may be rescheduled because of delays in road work, the president of the Portuguese Football Federation warned yesterday. 

“There are roads under construction which have not progressed at all in over five months,” Gilberto Madail told reporters. 

Portugal has spent 800 million euros (US$990mil) building seven stadia and completely renovating three others for the Finals, which kick off on June 12, but work on road access has only been completed at the 30,000-seat stadium in the northern city of Braga, which hosts two matches. 

Construction of car parks and road access is the responsibility of local municipalities and is expected to cost 80 million euros. 

Up to 1.2 million fans are expected for the Finals. 

European football’s governing body UEFA have expressed concern over transport and road access with game-day traffic jams in the capital Lisbon and second city Oporto a common headache. 

Portugal, one of the poorest nations in the 15-member European Union, have experienced a ten-fold increase in the number of cars since the early 1970s and road construction has struggled to keep pace with the jump in traffic. 

Organisers have already switched the venues for two first-phase group games which were deemed “high-risk” by UEFA to bigger cities where policing of potential troublemakers would be easier. 

Germany’s Group D match on June 14 with Holland was moved from Aveiro to Oporto while England’s Group B match with Croatia on June 20 was moved to Lisbon from Coimbra. – AFP 

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