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Tel Aviv on short list to host UEFA Cup final
ALLON SINAI
07/05/2006
Six stadiums, including National Stadium in Ramat Gan, considered to host UEFA Cup final in 2008 or 2009.
The UEFA Cup final may be coming to Israel soon. UEFA announced on Tuesday that six stadiums, including the National Stadium in Ramat Gan, have been shortlisted to host the UEFA Cup final in either 2008 or 2009. Israel has never hosted a European competition final and the Israel Football Association will be hoping the UEFA executive committee will grant Ramat Gan an honor that is sure to give Israeli soccer a welcome boost. Along with the National Stadium on the list for both years is Hamburg's Football Arena. The City of Manchester Stadium and Fenerbahce SK's Saracuglu home in Istanbul are competing for the 2008 final, while the Parken in Copenhagen and the National Stadium in Bucharest are being considered for 2009. A UEFA team inspected Ramat Gan a few weeks ago and decided that it fulfills all the conditions. UEFA drew up the short list after evaluating each candidate according a variety of criteria, including capacity, infrastructure and city and airport agreements. Despite the good news, IFA officials were not celebrating just yet. "We are still a long way from hosting the UEFA final," said IFA director general Haim Zimmer. "UEFA has listed many demands for improvements and repairs in and around the stadium." The final decision on the venues for 2008 and 2009 finals will be announced by the UEFA executive committee in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on October 4 or 5.
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