Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

July 12, 2007

Save the stadium

Filed under: Stadiums,Ukraine — Ivan @ 1:18 am

It?s a good thing that Tuesday?s ?Super Kubok? match between Dynamo Kyiv and Donetsk Shakhtar was held in Odessa and not in the capital city?s Olympic Stadium. Officials from the Union of European Football Associations were on hand to watch the match in the port city, whose stadium is currently listed as a stand-by venue for the Euro 2012 championship finals. Had the match been held in Kyiv, everyone would have seen the eyesore that is the unfinished Troyitsky commercial and entertainment complex in front of Olympic Stadium. Both UEFA and the FIFA world football federation have said that they may prohibit international football matches from being held at the stadium because the planned complex poses a security risk to the speedy evacuation of fans from the stadium in the event of an emergency.

Nevertheless, the company that began building the trade center said that it will go ahead with plans to complete construction, which was suspended a year ago. The company claims that it has all necessary permits and three independent evaluations dismissing the evacuation risks ? including one from a firm that conducted similar evaluations in France when the World Cup was held in that country in 1988.

But international football insiders say that the problems with the Olympic Stadium go beyond the planned shopping mall and that major work to the building is required before the stadium is prepared to handle the onslaught of fans for the final match of Euro 2012. One solution that has been bandied about is the construction of a new stadium on the location of Kyiv?s outskirts. Cynics claim that the plan for a new stadium is being lobbied by those looking to tear down the old one and build high-priced housing on its location.

Surely it will be less expensive to improve the stadium already in place and relocate the half-constructed shopping mall to another location. It would be a shame to deprive Kyivans of the historic venue in the city?s center. A business center, apartment buildings or individual business interests should be secondary to state interests and national pride. Otherwise, Ukraine risks drawing a red card from European football authorities and losing the right to host the final match for the Euro 2012 championships.

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