Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

July 14, 2007

Poland set for 2012 party

Filed under: Poland,Ukraine — Ivan @ 1:00 pm

It is less than three months since Poland and Ukraine were awarded the right to stage the UEFA EURO 2012? final round – but with five years left to put on eastern Europe’s biggest ever football event the preparations are well and truly underway. Polish Football Federation (PZPN) president Micha? Listkiewicz worked alongside his Ukrainian counterpart Grigoriy Surkis on the winning bid, and he spoke to about his feelings at the moments of victory and their roadmap to the big kick-off. It is now some weeks since the decision was made in Cardiff – has the good news sunk in?

Micha? Listkiewicz: It was a fantastic decision and a fantastic time for Poland and our friends from Ukraine. But the clock is running and our prime minister decided to establish a special body consisting of top ministers and people from the PZPN, the minister of sport. And there is a lot of work today, this year we are taking all legal steps necessary to help investors to build quickly and avoid problems in building stadiums and infrastructure. What were you feelings at the moment of victory?

Listkiewicz: It was a great surprise, I was jumping. I behaved like a small boy. But I am not ashamed as it was the greatest moment of my life in football. Of course it was the same for our friends in Ukraine. In Poland, thousands of people gathered at the squares and celebrated like after the Polish victory in 1974 in the third-place match in the [FIFA] World Cup. Were you confident you would win?

Listkiewicz: Of course we believed, but personally I expected we would win on the second ballot but my friend Grigoriy Surkis from Ukraine said: ?No no, we will win on the first ballot.? So he was right! Of course we knew the other bidders, especially Italy, had more experience, bidding for the second or third time but for Ukraine/Poland it was the first time ever so our success is even bigger as we were beginners. What were the reasons for your success?

Listkiewicz: All three bids were very strong, the presentations were very professional and all three candidates were very well prepared. I think our advantage was the philosophy – to give a chance to eastern Europe. It happened with the [UEFA] Champions League final which will be played next year in Moscow, and the next EURO after 2008 will be in eastern Europe, I think it is the philosophy of UEFA to give a chance to new countries. But of course we were very well prepared. And the size of our countries is important, 90 million people waiting for a big sporting event for the first time in our history. But does the size of your countries also present a challenge with the distances between venues?

Listkiewicz: It is a big challenge, but a big chance for both countries. Not just in football, not just in sport but in general. To build new roads, new railway stations, to increase the size of the airports – the whole infrastructure, which will stay forever. EURO 2012? will be a fantastic event but one day it will finish. But all the infrastructure will remain for the people. Regarding the distances I don?t think it will be a problem, we had the same with Korea/Japan 2002 and no one complained, everybody was happy. Will it also prove a boost for tourism in your countries?

Listkiewicz: We hope the one million people who will come for EURO will recognise both countries as fantastic places for tourism in the future. They will advise their friends and families to come again, Poland is a beautiful country. People in Europe do not know we have fantastic forests, lakes, mountains and beaches but they will recognise that and hopefully come again; Of course, you will be working very closely with your colleagues from Ukraine?

Listkiewicz: We meet very often. We are continuing with a children’s tournament, Generation 2012, for boys aged 12 to 14. All the EURO host citites participate. We have already organised it twice, once in Ukraine and once in Poland, now we will do it again in Poland. Many hundreds of boys play, a lot of parents and a lot of friends come and we hope some of these young boys will one day play professional football, maybe even EURO 2012?.? Have you been getting advice from other host nations, for example Austria and Switzerland who stage UEFA EURO 2008?.

Listkiewicz: I have spoken already to my friends [Swiss Football Association president] Ralph M. Zloczower and [Austrian Football Association president] Friedrich Strickler, they are ready to give us all their know-how and advice. We have had meetings with the [German Football Association] about the German World Cup preparations and we will go to Portugal [UEFA EURO 2004? hosts] to learn. Because we will learn a lot, we have never organised such a big event.

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