Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

February 8, 2008

Most Ukrainians expect corruption at Euro 2012

Filed under: Money,Ukraine — Ivan @ 11:25 pm

Kiev – Three out of four Ukrainians expect their country’s management of the Euro 2012 football championships,which it is co- hosting with Poland, to be at least partially corrupt, according to poll data made public Friday. A whopping 76 per cent of Ukrainians said they “were sure or almost sure” their country’s preparations for the tournament would see graft, kick backs or other forms of corruption, according to the Kiev International Institute of Sociology (KIIS), a survey company.

More than half of Ukrainians (56 per cent) predicted the corruption “would be substantial.” Only a tiny minority (4 per cent) expected Ukraine’s preparations for Euro 2012 would not be corrupt in any way, the survey found.

Less than one-third of those surveyed (29 per cent) said they were confident Ukraine would manage to do a good job hosting the event.

The poll conducted in late January surveyed 2,036 persons, and has a maximum 3.5 per cent margin of error, according to the KIIS report.

Ukraine and Poland won their bid to host the event in April 2007.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko at a Friday meeting of the government council coordinating preparations for Euro 2012 conceded the greed of Ukrainian public officials already has turned planning into a shambles.

“Right now we still have three different (government) agencies working on preparations,” Yushchenko said. “Not to help us get ready, but to divert the maximum amount of money possible into the black economy.”

Ukraine’s Euro 2012 planning council has repeatedly missed planning deadlines, most recently failing to complete a schedule of tasks needing completion to host the event.

Ukraine needs by some estimates as much as 5 billion dollars’ investment in roads, hotels, stadiums, and service industries to develop infrastructure up to standards needed to host a a European football championship.

Speaking in Kiev, Yushchenko pointed out the equally daunting administrative challenges facing the country, including the fact that fewer than half of the responsible government agencies even possess a plan for Euro 2012 preparations.

There is also an absence of a consolidated national list of football infrastructure and no laws at all mandating how the government will carry out its preparations to host the championship.

Yushchenko and other Ukrainian officials have repeatedly promised they will meet UEFA deadlines set for tournament preparations, but actual work in the country has been slow.

A milestone has been the country’s largest footballing site, Kiev’s Olympic Stadium, which is unusable for a major game because of a shopping centre under construction right next door, making the stadium unsafe to evacuate by UEFA standards.

Two Ukrainian commercial clans are locked in a legal battle already more than three years old over whether or not the shopping centre’s construction permits are in fact legal.

Yushchenko issued a executive order in March to have the shopping centre torn down, with little effect.

Ukrainian officials on Thursday declared an alleged breakthrough compromise in the Olympic stadium wrangle, with the above-ground portion to be torn down, and the underground to be built with football-specific shops and restaurants.

“It would be good if we could get this (the tear-down) going, so that we can show UEFA that we can get things done,” Yuschenko said. “Every one is looking at that shopping centre.”

The UEFA last week criticised Poland and Ukraine on their preparations for Euro 2012, and hinted at taking the competition away from them if work fails to speed up in the next six months.

Franz Beckenbauer, top organizer of Germany’s highly successful 2006 World Cup, openly criticised the Polish-Ukrainian ramp-up to Euro 2012 saying “They (Ukraine and Poland) have to do something soon…Germany is of course prepared to step in if they can’t handle it.”

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