SPORTS

UEFA contributes to country’s fire damage bill for facility repair work

UEFA yesterday announced a donation of just over 600,000 euros, or 1 million Swiss francs, to the Greek Football Federation to help rebuild soccer facilities damaged by fires that ravaged the country last month. The announcement of the cash boost to the reigning European champions came after a two-day meeting of the executive committee of European football’s top body headed by UEFA President Michel Platini here. The fires in August killed at least 67 people and the national economy suffered losses estimated at -1.6 billion. European soccer’s governing body also approved the procedure for the draw for the Euro 2008 finals which will take place on December 2 in Lucerne, Switzerland. Hosts Switzerland and Austria will be placed into groups A1 and B1 respectively, and the 14 other teams divided into four pots. «Pot 1 will comprise reigning European champions Greece if they qualify for the tournament as well as the team with the highest coefficient,» UEFA said in a statement. «The other teams will then be placed in the three remaining pots based on the coefficient obtained in the qualifying competition of the 2006 FIFA World Cup and for UEFA Euro 2008.» UEFA’s next executive committee meeting will take place in Lucerne on November 30 and December 1, just ahead of the draw. Greece currently leads seven-team Group C with 19 points from eight games, two ahead of Turkey and Norway, which has played an additional game, and has three to go. Bosnia, realistically the only other contender for a berth at next summer’s Euro 2008 finals, lies fourth with 13 points from nine games. The top two teams qualify. Meanwhile, Bosnia included two new faces in their squad for next month’s Euro 2008 Group C qualifiers against Greece and Norway. Defender Ante Aracic of FC Brussels and TSG Hoffenheim midfielder Sejad Salihovic have been called up for the first time by coach Fuad Muzurovic. Greece hosts Bosnia on October 13 and is then hosted by Turkey four days later, when the Bosnians meet Norway. (AFP, Reuters, Kathimerini)