SFA chief still dreams of staging Euro showpiece

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The Independent Football

Gordon Smith has not given up hope of Scotland one day co-hosting the European Championship finals.

The chances of the country being awarded future tournaments nose-dived a year ago when Uefa announced the competition would be expanded to 24 teams from 2016.

It was a move Scottish Football Association chief executive Smith campaigned for and one that gives Scotland a better chance of qualifying for the finals in future.

But it killed any hope of the nation being able to host the tournament on an individual basis anytime soon, while also making it far more difficult even for a joint bid with Ireland or Wales to succeed.

But speaking yesterday as Glasgow was announced as the host city of the 2010 Cerebral Palsy European Championships, Smith insisted his dream of bringing a major tournament to Scotland was not completely dead.

He said: "The difficulty was always going to be that if the tournament went to 24 teams – which is going to be the case in 2016 – then there was no chance that Scotland would be able to host it individually. And it would even have been difficult hosting it on a joint basis. It's not something that we're putting aside completely at the moment but we were delighted the tournament went to 24 teams."

One competition Scotland have managed to secure is the 10-team CP European Championships, which will be played at Toryglen Regional Football Centre between 17 and 28 August next year.

Smith said: "We are all delighted that we have been awarded this tournament. It is an endorsement of our growing reputation in CP Football, but also recognition of Glasgow's excellence in hosting football events.

"The Scottish team made it to the World Championships last year and recently were unbeaten in an international tournament against some of the world's best teams. I'm sure that having home advantage will spur them on to hopefully become European champions. I have no doubt that with the Scottish crowd behind it, our championships will be the best ever."

Meanwhile, Smith confirmed non-league clubs Hawick Royal Albert and Huntly could face sanctions if either is found guilty of fixing the result of their Active Nation Scottish Cup tie.

Lothian and Borders Police yesterday launched an investigation after they were contacted about Saturday's first-round game. Bookmakers William Hill also said they were looking at bets taken on the match. Huntly, of the Highland League, won the game 7-0, with the first goal coming from a penalty when a Hawick player was sent off for handling the ball in the area.