Austrian-born Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger is putting his considerable weight behind the joint Swiss-Austrian bid to host the 2008 European football championships.
The former Mr Universe has become one of the most world's most recognisable figures after starring in hits such as "True Lies", "Total Recall" and the Terminator films - and now the Swiss and Austrian football associations are hoping to benefit from his support.
"As an Austrian I am particularly happy that my native country is bidding for EURO 2008 together with Switzerland," Schwarzenegger said on Tuesday in a press release issued by the bid team.
"It is not only an honour for me, but an obligation to support sport in general in Austria, and football in particular," the actor added.
Although he has lived in the United States for 30 years, Schwarzenegger said he had always followed Austrian football since playing the sport as a young boy growing up near Graz.
By lending his name to the bid's support committee, Schwarzenegger joins an already impressive list of celebrities which includes Swiss-based motor racing champion Michael Schumacher, Switzerland's own Formula One team, Sauber, and dozens of prominent names from the worlds of sport, politics and economics.
Six rival bids
While Schwarzenegger is famous for despatching his celluloid enemies in often violent fashion, the Swiss-Austrian bid team will be looking to see off their rivals in a more peaceful manner.
Six other bid teams have applied to host the tournament, which is often cited as the world's third biggest sporting event, after the football World Cup and the Summer Olympics.
European football's governing body UEFA is set to make its final decision in December.
swissinfo with agencies
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