Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

September 13, 2007

Ukraine president throws 2012 into doubt

Filed under: Ukraine — Ivan @ 11:30 pm

Ukraine’s president has accused the ex-Soviet state’s government of failing to take seriously the huge tasks of preparing for the 2012 European football championships, to be staged jointly with Poland.

Viktor Yushchenko told Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council on Tuesday that the government, headed by his arch rival, warranted a ‘red card’ for its handling of economic and social issues. Among them, he said, was a failure to oversee properly and provide sufficient financing for the 2012 championship. ‘I believe the government must show great care in the way it deals with Euro 2012,’ Yushchenko told the meeting. ‘Every day, more and more analysts and journalists are placing in doubt Ukraine’s preparations.’ The government, he said, ‘has yet to show the public how seriously they view this project’. Yushchenko, gearing up for a parliamentary election later this month, is no great lover of sport, but played a key role in helping secure the 2012 championship, seen as a chance to boost the prestige of the ex-Soviet state. His presence at the bid’s final presentation in Cardiff was seen as a key element in beating out two other bids. Both Ukraine and Poland face colossal tasks in building and improving hotels, roads, airports and other facilities in addition to modernising stadiums. Ukraine’s sports minister last month criticised host cities — Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Kiev and Lviv — for failing to implement tasks set down in an action plan. A key issue remains a row over construction of a shopping and leisure centre next to Kiev’s main stadium, which could prevent the facility being used to host the 2012 final. Football’s world governing body FIFA has said that if the centre is completed in its current form, it could only authorise matches there with much smaller crowds. Yushchenko has called a halt to the construction and a UEFA commission is currently visiting Kiev to investigate the matter.

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