Thursday, 22 May 2008

The Alternative EURO2008 Football Tournament


The EURO2008 is being played in the countries of Switzerland/Austria this year and Switzerland have decided to have their own small EURO2008 in the mountain village of Gspon in the Kanton of Valais somewhere in the mountains of Switzerland. This evening they brought a report on the tv of the preparations being made. As you can see from the photo the football pitch is surrounded by mountains and it actually lays at an altitude of 2,000 meters above sea level. The tv reporter was quite out of breath during his comments.

Eight teams will be competing: Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Austria, France, Sweden and the Netherlands. Information given by the organisers says that the event will prove to be original and unforgettable for the teams, fans and media as the games will be played at the highest elevated soccer field in Europe. The European championship will also have the highest level of competitive sport played among the wonderful views of the Swiss Alps. What is not mentioned is that the balls used in matches on this football field often get lost – the local team lost 20 last year. If you kick the ball too far and too high it can be that you have to climb down the mountain to find it again – see photo.


Also mentioned is that each team will be hosted by a friendly, experienced, local tour guide who will escort the teams to games as well as to special events designed to share the local customs and traditions of the mountain villages (perhaps how to milk a cow or a cheese making afternoon).

At the moment the football pitch is covered by a ski piste, but as the games only begin next week, the pitch will be prepared by then. Another fact to bear in mind is that the football pitch is only to be reached by cable car or by walking – no problem for our fit footballers. They showed this evening on the television the arrival of the Dutch team. It is believed they will have most problems accustoming to the altitude, thus they are the first to arrive. They were shown proudly dressing in their orange football t-shirts.

Naturally the rules have had to be adapted. The field is smaller and penalties will only be taken at 7 meters, distance for a free kick and corner kick will be 5 meters. Playing time is only an hour with a 10 minute break and there will be a maximum of 8 players and minimum of 5. Probably there would not be room on the field for more players. And the delight of every footballer is that here will be no offside rule as well as no back-pass rule.

It also stands that all player passports with photo and a numerically ordered list showing family names, Christian names and the dates of birth of all participating players are to be handed over to the technical commission before the tournament. You never know, perhaps trained mountaineers might try to smuggle themselves into the team.

Personally I believe the Swiss want to be sure to win something as their chances are not so high in the EURO2008. If they are lucky and meet Holland in the matches, then their win chances will be high. Of course if the Italians send a team from the Dolomites or the Germans from the Hünsruck then the Swiss chances may dwindle. I am looking forward to the tv coverage of these matches. May the best team win.

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