Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

February 8, 2008

Ukraine back on track for Euro 2012

Filed under: Ukraine — Ivan @ 5:42 am

KIEV, Feb 8 (Reuters) – Decisions on two key stadiums show that authorities in Ukraine, told by UEFA to take action quickly, have turned the corner in preparing for Euro 2012, the country’s sports minister said on Friday.

Yuri Pavlenko said the government and local officials had come to realise the stakes involved in staging, along with Poland, the largest sports event to be held in the ex-Soviet state.

“Authorities in Ukraine will not let this chance slip through their fingers and will prepare the country for 2012 in the best way possible,” he said.

“This will be the best European championship ever. We will take concrete steps to counter any suggestion by our competitors that this chance might be taken away from us and the championship held elsewhere.”

The government on Wednesday clinched a deal with a property developer to tear down part of a shopping centre adjacent to Kiev’s main stadium that UEFA said violated crowd control rules and could jeopardise plans to hold the final there.

Pavlenko said a plan to renovate the 84,000-seat Olympic Stadium, first built in the 1920s and used in the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, could now be approved next week.

Local authorities in the western city of Lviv staved off criticism of their preparations by naming a contractor to build a new 33,000-seat stadium at a cost of 85 million euros.

Pavlenko said new stadiums in the other two host cities — Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk — would be completed this year and the two cities in reserve — Odessa and Kharkiv were proceeding well with their preparations.

“I have no doubt at all that all stadiums will be ready by 2010 in order to take part in the 2012 championship,” he said.

PLATINI CRITICAL

UEFA president Michel Platini last week criticised Poland and Ukraine and said the coming months would be “decisive” in determining whether conditions could be met for Euro 2012.

Rumours swept Kiev that the country would have its right to stage the event withdrawn.

The two ex-communist countries face serious difficulties in building or modernising poor roads and rail lines, updating ageing airports and building new hotels.

Pavlenko said the country’s top elected officials had taken action to put the campaign back on course.

President Viktor Yushchenko, whose presence played a key role when the joint bid was declared the winner last year, had held two meetings of top organisers in three weeks. The government promised to approve an action plan next week.

The budget for preparations, Pavlenko said, was set at the equivalent of $24.7 billion dollars, about 80 percent from private investors and 15 percent from the national budget.

“The accent, therefore, is on the state and the host cities to create opportunities for potential investors,” he said, including sporting venues, road construction and improvements to communal services. (writing by Ron Popeski, editing by Justin Palmer) (Editing by Justin Palmer)

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