196 days until the first whistle of European Championships 2008 is blown. But ‘til we’ll get to eat some Swiss emmental or Austrian sausages watching these unforgettable matches, there are lots of things to be done, concerning the last qualifying stages for the final tournament and its self organization. Anyway, the only things that remain to us is dream we’ll be there and follow all the euro 2008 news. From the 7th to the 29th of June there will only be time to celebrate.
Within the opening match on June, the 7th, alongside 5 other matches, including a semifinal among them, Basel will be the main venue of the displaying events in Switzerland. Therefore the organizers chose a claim for showing the involvement of the city and the whole region for a good organization of the final tournament: «Basel. Beyond the 90 minutes».
But what do we know at this point about the starting point of Euro 2008?Well, here’s some useful data which will certainly help us in better knowing our future summer hosts.
Name: St Jakob Park
Inauguration: 25 April 1954
First match: Switzerland-Germany
Pitch dimensions: 105*68
Club: FC Basel
FC Basel 1893
Tel: 061 / 375 10 10
Fax: 061 / 375 10 11
Leave the A2 at the exit St Jakob. The stadium is located next to the A2.
Line 14 (from the city centre)
Match schedule at Euro 2008:
Match 1 – Switzerland-Czech Republic, Sat. 7th June 18:00
Match 10 – Switzerland-Turkey, Wed 11th June 20:45
Match 17 – Switzerland- Portugal, Sun 15th June 20:45
Match 25 – Quarterfinal 1 Winner group A- Runner-up group B, Thu 19th June 20:45
Match 27 – Quarterfinal 3 Winner group C- Runner-up Group D, Sat 21st June 20:45
Match 29 – Semifinal 1 Winner 25- Winner 26, Wed 25th June 20:45
St. Jakob Park
St. Jakob Park (St James Park in English) is the stadium where FC Basel plays. «Joggeli» as it is nicknamed, has a current capacity of 42,200 seats. After the demolition of the old stadium in December 1998, it lasted 26 months until they had this new piece of jewelry. It was designed by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, two architects known worldwide for their fantastic work and creativity (see Tate Modern in London or the new Olympic stadium in Beijing). The stadium is divided into four blocks, A B C and D, each block is a whole side of the stadium. St. Jakob Park is a fairly new stadium, the construction started on the 13th of December 1998. The first game played in it was on the 15th of March 2001. The «Genossenschaft S.J.P» officially own the stadium, the stadium itself is managed by «Basel United». The stadium cost around 220 million Swiss Francs (130million Euros) to build. Within the stadium are 32 stores on 3 different floors. There are also 2 restaurants within the stadium; these are «Restaurant UNO» and «Hattrick Sports Bar». The stadium has parking space for 680 cars on 2 different floors, but 1500 parking places wait outside. The multifunctional sport arena is visited by 850’000 people each year for sporting and cultural events. Other great facilities: a gym, a shopping mall, a retirement home with over 100 apartments.
The stadium has been awarded 4 stars by UEFA, which is the highest amount of stars that can be awarded to a stadium of that size.
In 2006 there was a riot after a match between FC Basel and FC Zurich. The hooligan incident (also called ‘Disgrace of Basel’) occurred on May 13th after a championship-deciding match between the two teams. FC Zürich scored in the dying moments of the match, and the goal ended the dream of Basel winning the Swiss Super League a third time in a row. This incident resulted in property damage and it is seen as one of the worst of such incidents involving violent hooliganism in Swiss sport.
However let’s not let us guide by this displeasured and lonesome occurrence and put our trust in the sense of fairness and swiss honesty. After all, they’re number 1 in banking systems and good watches, right? I’m sure we can easily confide in their work.
Basel is the centre of north-western Switzerland, on the border with Germany and France, and located at the very core of central Europe, with a population of 165000 inhabitants (December 2006). Despite its social dynamism and innovative economic strength, Basel is a lively border town, with a strong traditional base rooted in history which can be experienced not only at its carnival, the Basler Fasnacht. Both its historic townscape and modern architecture are part of Basel’s living present.
Hotels in the Basel region like to spoil their guests. The Hotel Les Trois Rois on the Rhine is one of Europe’s oldest hotels and at the same time the most splendid address in Basel. Other 5-star hotels are the Euler, Hilton, Swissôtel Le Plaza Basel, and Radisson SAS.
Among its 4-star hotels are the Basel, Europe, Merian am Rhein, St Gotthard, and Victoria.
A popular 3-star hotel is the Teufelhof, which consists of the Kunsthotel (Artists Hotel), with eight rooms continually redesigned by various artists, and the Galeriehotel (Gallery Hotel), where artists exhibit their work.
The Hotel Au Violon is an interesting representative of the 2-star hotels, opened in 1999 in the former Lohnhof prison whose forty cells have been converted into twenty simple, attractive rooms.
The city’s youth hostel in a former silk-ribbon factory on the Rhine, is said to be one of the most attractive. The Waldhort camping site is located in Reinach, only 7 kilometers away from the city.