With just 29 days to go until the big Portugal v Greece match kicks off the Euro 2004 football tournament, the government and local authorities have been working hard on finalising preparations for the event.
From entertainment to transport, local câmaras are searching to perfect everything. “Every day, UEFA is more sure that Portugal is the ideal place to host the European Championship. Within 29 days, the tournament will be under way here and we are planning for the best football in the world,” Martin Kallen from UEFA commented. So can the Algarve live up to the expectations? The Resident reports.
In a bid to keep fans entertained, out of harm’s way and spending money, officials in Faro have organised 30 days of pure Euro 2004 fun. José Vitorino, Faro Câmara President, recently announced the 400,000 euro programme, which includes street entertainment, live music and providing restaurants and bars with big screens so that fans can watch the European Championship games. “Faro is a city that depends on the number of visitors it receives. Our Euro 2004 entertainment project will attract thousands to our city, providing a boost to our shops and restaurants,” Vitorino explained.
Most of the entertainment will start at 4pm, except when the tournament games are held at the Algarve Stadium, when the fun begins at 11am in the Jardim Manuel Bivar, near the docks.
The biggest names so far confirmed to play at the festival are Santos e Pecadores (June 12), Jazz Night (June 16), Ala dos Namorados (June 18), David Fonseca (June 19), João Pedro Pais (June 26) and Daniela Mercury (July 4). Vitorino has also announced that the road works and building improvements around the Jardim Manuel Bivar, the Largo das Mouras Velhas car park and the EN125 roundabout, should be finished before the football tournament.
A Linha Verde – Faro/Euro 2004 internet site, which contains information about the city’s Euro 2004 programme, is expected to be available by May 15. Information is available in Spanish, English, Spanish, German and Russian.
The Secretary of State for Transport, Francisco Seabra, recently visited the new train station, Estação do Esteval, located next to the Algarve Stadium, which apparently, is ready to start operating. “This mean that it will be much easier for fans to travel to the stadium, and hopefully lower congestion on the motorway during the tournament,” Seabra commented.
According to Seabra, “supporters prefer a simpler way of travelling to the games rather than having to wait in a long queue on the motorway for several hours.” Not only has the Parque das Cidades complex now got a train station, a small hospital at the Pavilhão Multiusos is currently being built and should be operational before the Euro 2004 tournament kicks off.
Meanwhile, ANA, the Portuguese airport management company, recently held a security conference at Faro Airport to discuss strategy for the upcoming event. The airport is expecting 10,000 visitors a day to pass through during the Euro 2004 tournament, travelling on 250 flights. “We hope to improve our transport system so that if fans would like to attend a game, they can fly over and be back home 48 hours later,” Manuel da Costa from the airport explained. He also revealed that the airport is expected to remain open 24 hours a day during tournament days and that several flights, including those of the participating football teams, will be allocated to the old terminal.