Euro 2008 Goes Like Clockwork

Six of the cities hosting next year’s European soccer championship have unveiled clocks counting down to the start, while tournament organisers claim to be ahead of schedule.

Four of the eight stadiums are already complete or in need of only minor modifications. The remaining four – in Zurich, Innsbruck, Salzburg and Klagenfurt – are due to be finished by September.

"We are very much ahead of previous tournaments at the same stage," said Martin Kallen, chief operating officer of Euro 2008. "I would say we are about 90 percent done with the planning and 65 percent done with the implementation."

Festival organisers in Switzerland and Austria – joint hosts for the next staging of the four-yearly European soccer extravaganza – will be hoping the sport doesn’t have too much impact on festival crowds.

Last year, when the world soccer championship was staged in neighbouring Germany and the Swiss national team qualified for the finals, some festival promoters felt they were down on numbers because fans spent more on football and less on music.

Euro 2008 is due to kick off in Basel’s St. Jakob-Park stadium on June 7. The final will be held in Vienna’s Ernst Happel Stadium June 29.