Thank you, Presiding Officer. We all welcome the opportunity for Scotland to host international sporting events. Our history in international football goes as far back as it is possible to go; the first-ever international fixture was between Scotland and England and it was hosted in Glasgow. More recently, there was much to celebrate about the success of the Commonwealth games, although I do not think that they had the overwhelmingly positive effect on the local community in the east end and on children and families’ participation in sport that some have claimed; the Parliament should come back to that point and explore it further.
I hope that hosting the UEFA matches will benefit the local economy in Glasgow and grass-roots football on the south side, across the city and across Scotland. International tournaments are special because they can play a key role in developing the sport, driving new people to get involved and drawing more attention to the positives that the sport can provide—we need only look at the long-overdue boom in interest in women’s football after Scotland qualified for the world cup in France this year.
However, in seeking to host international events, we need to ensure that they are conducted fairly.