Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

January 14, 2008

Ukraine Premier targets Euro 2012 preparations

Filed under: Ukraine — Ivan @ 4:25 am

Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine’s new anti-corruption Prime Minister, on Friday ordered her government to overhaul its preparation plan as co-host for the Euro 2012 football tournament. Ukraine and Poland won joint rights to hold the event in March, but since then the Ukrainian government has struggled even to begin an estimated 42 billion dollars in preparations needed if the former Soviet republic is to manage its side of the event.

A Tymoshenko-led coalition took over Ukraine’s government in December on promises to reduce graft and inefficiency in state institutions.

The new pro-democracy government will complete a review of steps taken so far to ready the country for Euro 2012, and the parliamentary majority she leads will make a new plan national law, Tymoshenko promised.

“We already running a year and a half in our preparation efforts,” she Tymoshenko. “We will reverse these trends.”

A football-mad country whose national team made the final eight in the 2006 World Cup, Ukraine lacks substantial infrastructure needed to host any major international sporting event.

Ukrainian roads and service quality are far below international standards. Stadiums – all but one dating back to the Soviet era – are dilapidated, and the country needs to build dozens of hotels to handle an expected one million visitors.

Overhaul of the country’s largest stadium – Olympeysky Stadium in the capital Kiev – has been stalled for months because of a shopping centre under construction next door which, if completed, would make the stadium impossible to evacuate safely.

Tymoshenko at a cabinet meeting instructed Ukraine’s top law enforcer Interior Minister Yury Lutsenko to intervene in the legal wrangle, pitting two Kiev business clans in a dispute over land ownership around the stadium.

Kiev developers alone will build 33 hotels to prepare for the tournmanent, with the first coming on line in 2008, and the last in 2011, Tymoshenko told reporters.

It is a construction challenge of the first order in Kiev’s overheated real estate market where some half-dozen firms monopolize major construction, and the few hotels lucky enough to operate charge as much as 200 dollars a night for an unpretentious single room.

The new hotels will cost some 500 million dollars, to be raised among private and international investors, Tymoshenko said.

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