Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

April 29, 2008

The President of the Polish FA visits FIFA

Filed under: Poland — Ivan @ 2:29 am

Michal Listkiewicz, the President of the Polish FA, visited FIFA on Monday 28 April 2008 and was accompanied by Professor Micha? Kleiber, advisor to the President of the Republic of Poland. They discussed various topics with FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, Jérôme Champagne, FIFAs Director of International Relations, as well as Member Associations Director, Urs Kluser.

After their fruitful meeting, Michal Listkiewicz spoke briefly to FIFA.com.

FIFA.com: What was the purpose of your visit today?
Michal Listkiewicz: We had meetings with the FIFA President, because the Polish FA elections are taking place soon. We had some trouble last year, which was solved with the big help of the FIFA President and President Lech Kaczy?ski. With the next elections coming up, we wanted to study the situation and to plan our activities until 14 September, the day of the assembly. We agreed that we should supervise the process because there are also regional elections. And FIFA together with the independent electoral committee will supervise things, to be sure that the process is democratic and according to the statutes.

On the pitch, UEFA EURO 2008 is coming soon. How do you rate Poland’s in a group which contains Germany, Croatia and Austria?
We are very optimistic. It’s a very difficult group, but our big dream is to beat Germany, because we’ve never done it before. It’s the first time for us in the EURO Finals, so this is already a big success. Now we want to qualify for the knockout phase. Our coach Leo Beenhakker is very determined and very professional, and we know that we are playing for millions of Poles, who will be going to Austria and Switzerland or watching the games on TV. Of course, we’re not expecting to be the European Champions, but it’s possible. But the first goal is to qualify from the group and play in Switzerland.

Wlodzimierz Smolarek, the father [of current striker Ebi], who was our hero in 1982, will be our Ambassador in our delegation, together with Grzegorz Lato and Zbigniew Boniek. So we’re taking three world class players with us, unfortunately their playing days are over!

At the moment, we’ve got a few problems as our top players are not always included in the first 11 at their respective clubs. Before the EURO, we’ve got three friendlies, one of whom is against Albania, who we were happy to help following their recent suspension.

Poland is co-host of EURO 2012. How are the preparations going?
We had some problems because of the political problems, but we got a wake up call from UEFAs President Michel Platini. Now everything is going well and the host cities are working very hard. We hope that we will be playing in six Polish cities and six Ukrainian cities. The decision was four in each, but we hope to be playing in six.

You had a quite successful team at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada last year, reaching the Round of 16. Are you hoping to build on this talent for 2012?
We have some talented players in the 18 to 20 age group and hopefully we will have a very strong team in 2012. In Canada, we beat Brazil, but now all our attentions are focused on beating Germany iat the EUROs.

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April 23, 2008

Football stadium security under debate

Filed under: Poland,Stadiums — Ivan @ 1:53 am

These are some of the questions debated during the session organised by the EU Magazine in Warsaw.

Among the guests are Poland’s sports minister Miroslaw Drzewiecki and justice minister Zbigniew Cwiakalski. The debate held under the title ‘Security on stadiums is a challenge for all: clubs, fans, society and the state’ focuses on the present situation on Polish stadiums and preparations to the Euro 2012.

The participants, among them sports journalists, club representatives as well as football players, discuss the recently growing phenomenon of aggression on Polish stadiums. Statistics point that football matches have become a field for pathological situations where pseudo fans grasp the opportunity to manifest their frustration and hatred. The discussion concentrates on how effective are present methods of combating hooliganism and what can be done to improve the situation.

poland.pl

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April 22, 2008

Euro 2012 going full steam

Filed under: Poland — Ivan @ 2:00 am

Treasury minister Aleksander Grad has voiced confidence preparations to the Euro 2012 are in no way jeopardized.

Exactly a year ago UEFA had granted Poland and Ukraine the joint organization of the Old Continent’s football championships.

Speaking on Polish Radio, minister Grad enumerated many key government decisions of the past few months paving the way for concrete actions. However, he considered the planning and preparatory stages to launching specific investment undertakings still require some time.

The treasury minister pointed to the crucial decision of PM Donald Tusk’s cabinet concerning principles defining the legal framework for financing of new stadiums. This includes the National Stadium to be constructed in Warsaw. Work is proceeding full steam, said the minister. Aleksander Grad also voiced hope that the next UEFA inspection commission which will examine the state of preparations to the Euro 2012 championships will appreciate the progress made by Poland to date.

poland.pl

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Ukraine face tough Euro 2012 timetable, says official

Filed under: Ukraine — Ivan @ 1:56 am

KIEV, April 22 (Reuters) – Ukraine are under pressure to speed up preparations for the 2012 European Championships ahead of a UEFA executive board meeting in June, the head of the co-hosts’s soccer federation said on Tuesday.

A timetable for improvements and financing is due by May 5 with UEFA’s executive committee next scheduled to meet on June 27, Grigory Surkis told a meeting of senior officials in the western city of Lviv.

“Even with all my cautious optimism, I would not like to predict the consequences at a meeting if everything here at home remains as it is now,” Ukrainian media quoted Surkis as saying at the meeting, attended by President Viktor Yushchenko.

UEFA President Michel Platini, who criticised the slow pace of preparations in January, plans to visit Ukraine and co-hosts Poland in July after Euro 2008, Surkis added.

The former Soviet state must resolve problems over the construction or upgrade of stadiums, accommodation, airport, rail and road transport, he also said.

Surkis described UEFA as being particularly critical of airports in the four host cities and had described them as “having extremely high levels of risk”.

Yushchenko, who is touring the cities due to host matches — Donetsk, Lviv, Dnipropetrovsk and Kiev — singled out airports as the most critical issue and urged ministers to reach agreements with local authorities to improve them.

Surkis dismissed local media reports last week that UEFA had met to discuss Ukraine’s position as hosts.

“Let me say with full responsibility that this issue was never raised by senior UEFA officials. It was never even discussed,” he said.

(Writing by Ron Popeski; Editing by Padraic Halpin)

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Ukraine, Poland establish a Council of EURO 2012 hosting cities

Filed under: Poland,Ukraine — Ivan @ 1:56 am

At the presence of President Victor Yushchenko, in Lviv, representatives from Ukrainian and Polish cities scheduled to host EURO 2012 signed a joint declaration on establishing the Council of cities hosting EURO 2012, according to the President`s press-office.

The Council’s main objective is to coordinate actions of the cities in Ukraine and Poland, experience sharing, mutual support, communication with UEFA office, etc. The meetings of the Council are to be held twice per year in 2008-2009 and four times annually in 2010-2012 with the first one scheduled to be held in Warsaw in October 2008.

For the period of 2008 the co-chairmen of the Council were elected the mayor of Lviv and the President of Warsaw.

According to an UNIAN correspondent, after the signing ceremony, Ukrainian hosts of the event proposed their guests to drink some champagne for the success of the action. However, a waiter dropped the tray and broke wineglasses. The President asked jokingly whether this embarrassment had been prepared in advance, and noted that it betokens success.

UNIAN

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Speed of preparations for Euro 2012 put Ukraine under pressure

Filed under: Ukraine — Ivan @ 1:43 am

Co – hosts Ukraine have been criticised by UEFA for the slow pace at which preparations for Euro 2012 are being made.

Ukraine had previously been warned in January by UEFA President Michel Platini for their almost lack of progress.

To date there remain unresolved problems over stadium construction or upgrades, accommodation as well as upgrades to airport, rail or road transport systems. According to reports UEFA are dissatisfied mostly with the state of airports in the cities earmarked to host Ukraine’s matches, namely Donetsk, Lviv, Dnepropetrovsk and Kiev.

Platini is expected to visit co – hosts Poland and Ukraine in July after Euro 2008.

soccerway.com

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April 19, 2008

Euro 2012 preparations fine, claims government

Filed under: Poland — Ivan @ 3:08 pm

Treasury minister Aleksander Grad has voiced confidence that preparations for Euro 2012 are back on track.

For instance, though the southern city of Krakow has only half of the Wisla stadium ready for Euro 2012 – the other half is still waiting for renovation and extension – it is still doing fine compared to other cities that are to host the championships.

The stadium’s southern and northern stands are ready and by May the western and eastern parts are to be extended.

Also, training pitches are to be built at the Hutnik and Cracovia stadiums. The first one, with heated turf and lighting is to be ready a year before Euro 2012. The second one is to be finished by 2011.

After initial misgivings, UEFA has finally appreciated Krakow’s efforts. The city made it into the medium risk group of cities when it comes to the stage of preparations for Euro 2012.

Exactly a year ago UEFA had granted Poland and Ukraine the joint organization of the Old Continent’s football championships.

The treasury minister claimed that the government had increased the pace of preparations by introducing the necessary legal framework for financing of new stadiums.

polskieradio.pl

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Poland and Ukraine face mounting Euro 2012 pressure

Filed under: Poland,Ukraine — Ivan @ 3:06 pm

WARSAW (AFP) — One year on from winning the race to hold Euro 2012, Poland and Ukraine are under mounting pressure from UEFA to step up efforts to get ready for the football showcase.

In the face of repeated warnings from European football’s governing body about the mammoth task, both countries have been pushed on to the defensive.

On April 18, 2007, UEFA raised eyebrows by choosing Poland and Ukraine over Italy and joint bidders Hungary and Croatia to host the quadrennial, 16-nation European championships.

It will be the first time either has run a major tournament — and in Poland it is seen as a way to improve the image of the domestic game, tarnished by match-fixing.

It also marks UEFA’s first big foray into the ex-communist bloc, where stadiums, hotels and transport are undergoing a major upgrade — with an estimated price tag of 42 billion euros (67 billion dollars) in Poland and Ukraine.

UEFA chief Michel Platini has been turning up the heat, urging the hosts to “protect the credibility” of Euro 2012, and last month issued a new “wake-up call.”

UEFA recently sent inspectors to Poland, but has refused to comment on their findings.

According to leaks in the Polish press, they noted a “speeding up” of overall plans, but were deeply concerned about the stadiums.

They spotlighted a “very high risk” that the new, 55,000-seat venue for the opening match, in the heart of Warsaw, would not be ready.

Michal Borowski, who is in charge of the 400-million-euro (637-million-dollar) state-funded project, this week played down the worries.

“The stadium should be delivered by 2011. That’s a little later than promised by the government. But there’s no other chance of doing it before,” he told reporters.

UEFA also allegedly pointed to a “high risk” in the Baltic port of Gdansk, but saw progress in Poznan and Wroclaw to the west.

Wroclaw’s mayor, Rafal Dutkiewicz, told AFP things were going “quite well”, with the 44,000-seat stadium there due to open by the end of 2010. “We’ll have challenges, but what’s nicer than challenges?” he said.

The stadium situation looks better in Ukraine. Kiev’s main ground is already being transformed into an 85,000-seat venue for the final.

To the east, work is winding down in Dnepropetrovsk, with a new 50,000-seat arena set to open this summer, while a similar-sized venue in Donetsk should be ready by the end of the year. Some local authorities are gloomy, however.

“Preparations for Euro 2012 are going worse and much slower than they could be,” said Donetsk’s mayor, Alexander Lukianchenko.

Infrastructure remains a major worry.

Currently, the 1,900-kilometre (1,180-mile) trip from Gdansk to Donetsk requires serious stamina.

A lucky driver can do it in 23 hours — not counting the wait at the border — with just 23 kilometres (14 miles) of motorway and most of the rest on single-lane roads.

It’s worse by train: the trip takes 43 hours, at best.

Despite major EU funding since the fall of communism in 1989 and Poland’s membership of the bloc in 2004, the country still hasn’t built a basic motorway network between its major cities. The situation is worse in Ukraine.

Polish authorities aim to build 1,100 kilometres (682 miles) of new motorway nationwide by 2012. Since last April, however, they have tallied just 35 kilometres (22 miles).

Among other concerns are new airport facilities and hotels.

The sluggishness was an election issue last October, when Poland’s liberals, led by ardent football fan Donald Tusk, beat the country’s conservatives.

Polish businesses, however, complain that despite pledges, Tusk has done too little to cut the red tape hampering preparations.

“There hasn’t been the necessary legislation to smooth the organisation of Euro 2012,” said employers’ federation boss Andrzej Malinowski.

Tusk, however, has affirmed he is “100-percent convinced” things will be fine.

“Speaking frankly, over the past year we could have done much more,” said the Ukrainian Football Federation’s chief Grigory Surkis, blaming the political instability that has gripped his country.

But striking a positive note, he said: “I’m sure we will succeed.”

AFP

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April 17, 2008

Poles pessimistic about Euro2012 preparations

Filed under: Poland — Ivan @ 10:50 am

Though Poles are happy to be co-hosting Euro 2012 a majority think the country won‘t be ready in time.

Over 80 percent of the Poles are happy with the fact that EURO 2012 finals will be organised in Poland, a poll by PBS DGA pollster reveals.

Only seven percent of the respondents don’t want the event to take place on the Polish territory. Every tenth respondent didn’t have a fixed opinion on this matter.

The Poles are less optimistic when it comes to the Polish organisational skills. As many as 54 percent don’t believe that Poland will be ready with the preparations on time and 41 percent have doubts about it.

Over 30 percent of the Poles are afraid that Poland is likely to lose the right to host EURO 2012 finals. Sixty percent claim that there is no such risk.

The poll was conducted on April 15 on a representative group of 500. (jm)

polskieradio.pl

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A year lost in EURO 2012 preparation

Filed under: Ukraine — Ivan @ 10:49 am

The euphoria which gripped Ukraine and Poland on April 18, 2007 after winning the right to host Europe’s football championship, EURO 2012, has come to nothing. A year after the triumphal hugs and kisses, the two countries’ preparations have progressed so poorly that Football Federation of Ukraine President Hryhoriy Surkis, and Football Federation of Poland President Michal Listkiewicz had to explain the situation in detail to the Union of European Football Association’s executive committee in last March.

The National Agency to Prepare and Host EURO 2012 was established to coordinate all state structures in Ukraine. Its chair, Yevhen Chervonenko, constantly criticizes the Cabinet of Ministers for ignoring his organization’s problems.

“I consider the level of financial support for the Agency by the government to be embarrassing,” he said of the EURO 2012 preparation funding. “The government scoffs not at me (I don’t care — I’m a self-sufficient person), it scoffs at Ukraine,” adding,”I have been spending my own personal money to maintain the agency. The cars, computers in the office – everything was bought with my own money. I have spent and spend without regret.”

But the poor Chervonenko can hardly come up with the tidy sum of nearly 16 billion euro necessary to host the championship. The Cabinet is ready to offer merely a fifth of the sum and state funds will be transferred to the city budget accounts starting next year.

Poland is ready to spend much more in preparations, about 27 billion euro, according to Fitch, the authoritative rating agency.

Surkis thinks the stall with EURO 2012 is a consequence of election campaigns and “a misunderstanding of the significance of this international project, which is able to fundamentally change Ukraine.”

“In spite of some political complications, we have no back­up plan,” UEFA Chair Michel Platini announced in April. “We trust Ukraine and Poland.”

Despite Platini’s diplomatic language, the two countries’ stalled EURO 2012 preparation evokes worry among the European experts who monitor EURO 2012 preparations.

There are no stadiums in Ukraine prepared to accept the European championship. Two of them, in Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk, are incomplete, and restoration of Kyiv’s Olimpiyskiy Stadium, the site of the final match, hasn’t begun. Demolition of the incomplete shopping center Troyitskiy is postponed for May.

Meanwhile, construction of a new stadium in Lviv is still on paper. “The Austrian development firm Albert Wimmer, which designed the stadiums in the Austrian cities of Salzburg, Klagenfurt and Innsbruck, where EURO 2008 will take place, signed a contract with the city and started developing the necessary documentation,” said Oleh Zasadniy, head of the EURO 2012 department of the Lviv City Council. Lviv also doesn’t have enough comfortable lodging to host the expected guests. None of Lviv’s 46 hotels has five stars but the mayor says that by 2012, the city will have five five­star hotels.

The situation in Donetsk is not much better, offering only one five­star hotel, the Donbass Palace. Mayor Oleksandr Lukianchenko assures that there will be three five­star hotels by 2012 and.

The Shakhtar football club’s stadium aims to become the first prepared for EURO 2012. The $250 million arena to seat 35,000 football fans will be finished by Turkish firm ENKA by the end of this year, according to Rinat Akhemtov, the owner of Shakhtar Donetsk.

Construction of the stadium in Dnipropetrovsk is planned for completion at the same time. German firm Hochtief has been building the stadium at a cost of 50 million euro.

Both football clubs are financing the construction.

“Only the so­called captains of industry are moving forward, whether for good or bad,” Chervonenko said. “Thanks to them, the championship will take place in Ukraine, because they don’t try to redirect authority and money streams in their direction. They are building.”

Most of Chervonenko’s skepticism is aimed at the government. In his view, local officials look at the 2012 situation “squinting, understanding they won’t be in their posts when it starts.”

Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko demonstrates her willingness to personally control the process herself. During a meeting with representatives of 120 companies and 18 embassies, she tried convincing them of Ukraine’s investment attractiveness leading up to the championship. The government isn’t able to host the championship at national treasury’s expense only, Tymoshenko said.

The government is ready to give Hr 27 billion while the total cost of preparation is estimated at Hr 125 billion. Reconstructing 13 airports requires Hr 9.5 billion alone, and road construction will cost Hr 37.5 billion more.

In May 2007, President Viktor Yushchenko established a presidential coordinating board to manage Ukraine’s preparation for EURO 2012. At the same time, the Cabinet of Ministers passed a resolution to establish an organizational committee for the football euroforum.

“But the organizations will remain on paper until the act,” Surkis said.

Today, the Ukrainian government hasn’t begun financing the preparation for the tournament. Instead politicians quarrel about who will lead the EURO preparations. First Tymoshenko decided to lead the process and appointed Surkis and Chervonenko as her assistants.

Later the president, with his decree, appointed new members to the coordinating board, with himself as its chair.

Meanwhile Italy, which lost to the Polish­Ukrainian bid last April, has instantly reacted to the crisis in Ukraine. “That decision to give EURO 2012 to Ukraine and Poland was based on political reasons and didn’t consider the economic situation,” said Giancarlo Abete, president of Italian Football Federation. “Italy today has all the necessary facilities – stadiums, airports, and hotels.”

EURO 2012 is a challenge for the UEFA authorities as well, Surkis said. In spite of this, he is sure that their morale will not be harmed because of Ukraine. “UEFA officials understand that to build a house, one should lay the roads first, bring the building materials, and build the foundation,” Surkis said.

Optimistic experts suggest that Ukrainian authorities consider EURO 2012 preparations to be an advertising campaign for the country in general. “Ukraine is in a zone of increased attention for the next several years, and we should use that wisely,” said Oksana Matviychuk, manager of the branding department of Research & Branding Group, a Ukrainian company that deals with sociological, political and business studies.

EURO 2012 will help local businesses such as hotels, realty agencies, restaurants, taxi companies and advertising agencies. “Ideally, there should be a genuine parade of products with the championship logo: beer, milk, cheese, butter, not to mention souvenirs,” said Mykhaylo Veklyk, president of Lviv­Kyiv marketing research, media audit and branding company M.V. Group.

But it is not reasonable to start the advertising campaign today, which would be the same as giving the announcement of a New Year sale in May, said Serhiy Goronovych, director of Tifantis Van Winner Consulting Ukraine. That should be done no earlier than one and a half years before the championship in the media and at EURO 2012 sites, stadiums, hotels, airports, and railroad stations.

Despite the problems, Surkis remains an optimist, he is sure that by the end of the summer, Ukraine will have plenty to show Platini when he visits after the EURO 2008 final.

“Millions of people believe that in four years, a tremendous leap from dullness and misery to a European standard of living is possible,” Surkis said. “And we must make time.”

kyivpost.com

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