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September 10, 2004

International Construction

Swiss cancel plans for Euro 2008 stadium

ZURICH

The new Hardturm Stadium in Zurich will not be built in time for the 2008 European Championship jointly hosted by Switzerland and Austria, officials announced Wednesday.

Zurich Mayor Elmar Ledergerber said the city encountered a legal challenge by opponents to the project and was giving up rebuilding Hardturm in time to stage any Euro 2008 matches, which will shifted to another stadium.

European soccer’s governing body said it was disappointed but confident the organizers would find a suitable solution.

“We remain fully confident the local organizing committee will run a successful tournament even though seven stadiums may be used instead of the eight initially planned,” UEFA chief executive Lars Olsson said in a statement.

“We are disappointed that the wish to have a new Hardturm Stadium built to be used for the UEFA Euro 2008, as expressed in a poll by the citizens of Zurich, was destroyed by a small minority.”

Various options to reallocate the matches originally slated for Hardturm Stadium to other Swiss stadiums have already been explored, UEFA said.

For a new venue to be considered, it will need to be fully operational by the summer of 2007, allowing enough time to test all facilities during a regular football season, the body specified.

Zurich was chosen as one of four cities in Switzerland to stage Euro 2008.

Hardturm was supposed to be the showcase stadium for Switzerland. Stadiums in Basel and Geneva are already in use, while construction on a stadium in Bern is due to be completed next year. The final is to be played in Vienna.

Plans for the proposed sports complex, expected to cost some 370 million Swiss francs ($374 million Cdn.), include a shopping centre, hotel, restaurants and other businesses constructed alongside the 30,000-seat stadium.

The Associated Press

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