FIFA President Sepp Blatter and former greats, such as Franz Beckenbauer, have joined UEFA’s Executive Director, Lars-Christer Olsson, in hailing Euro 2004 as the best tournament ever.

Olsson said it was difficult to fault any aspect of the organisation, matches were very well attended and the whole of Portugal, bedecked in flags, had taken the championships to their heart and soul. “We have had great football, good teams, good referees, fantastic fans and the organisation has been excellent,” he commented. “The Portuguese people have made it a fantastic experience.”

Olsson added: “We have had record TV audiences, not only in Europe but also in other parts of the world such as Asia, and in China in particular. Our website has passed 500 million page views – this is an excellent performance. The marketing programme has exceeded our expectations. We are now looking forward to bringing the competition to Austria and Switzerland in 2008.”

Exceptional example

José Luis Arnaut, the minister in charge of the government’s Euro 2004 taskforce, said that the most striking aspect of the tournament was, “the great work that all the entities involved put towards what I consider to be an exceptional example of good organisation.” Arnaut went on to say: “We’ve been receiving feedback from all over the world that the excellent organisation of the tournament, the good atmosphere among fans from different countries and the friendly welcome of the Portuguese people have all become trademarks of our country.”