11/06/2004

PM sends message of support to England's Euro heroes

Prime Minister Tony Blair today sent his message of support to the England camp ahead of their Euro 2004 clash against reigning champions France on Sunday evening.

The Prime Minister said that it was his "fervent hope" that England have a successful tournament.

"We have a great team and a great chance,” he told the team.

The Prime Minister also joined forces today with England Head Coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, encouraging the nation to 'Get Involved'.

“It will also be great if Euro 2004 inspires more adults and children to get active - whether it's copying the skills on show in Portugal at the park, joining a local team or simply getting fit.

“For the health of our nation as well as to produce the world beating stars of the future, we need more people to get active," he said.

The FA and its County Football Association’s have increased levels of participation by 21% in boys football and by 53% in girls football since 2001, but there are still millions around the country who, while following the national team’s fortunes on television, do not take any active role in the game itself.

England Head Coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said: "It would be fantastic if the team's performance in Portugal inspired more of those people to get involved in the game. Who knows, this tournament may even inspire the next generation of England stars, which would be some legacy."

(gmcg)

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