Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

June 10, 2008

Ukraine leader demands fast action on Euro 2012

Filed under: Ukraine — Ivan @ 3:02 am

KIEV (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on Tuesday ordered senior officials to produce clear solutions to issues casting a shadow over plans to co-host the 2012 European soccer championship.

The president, who played a key role in helping Ukraine and neighbouring Poland win the bid to stage the competition, has expressed increasing alarm in recent weeks about delays in preparing for the event.

In a letter to Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, he gave the Euro 2012 organising committee until June 18 to resolve issues including preparation of legislation, cooperation with Polish officials, road upgrades and improved conditions for investors.

Also included on the list was “the settling of all contradictions” regarding reconstruction of Kiev’s Olympic stadium, a longstanding issue which has threatened to disrupt plans to hold the final in the 84,000-seat facility.

“The president pointed out that a key element in successfully preparing and staging Euro-2012 in Ukraine is bringing our system of organisation with the demands of UEFA,” Yushchenko said in the letter.

He said clear replies to outstanding issues were needed for presentation to an UEFA Executive Committee meeting in Vienna on June 27 at the close of the 2008 European championship.

UEFA President Michel Platini in February deplored the pace of preparations and said progress in the months to come would be “decisive” to determine whether conditions could be met.

Platini is due to make a new visit to Ukraine on July 1-2 at the close of the current championship.

Both ex-communist countries face colossal tasks in upgrading infrastructure, particularly road and rail links and airports, rebuilding stadiums and building new hotels.

Rumours have periodically swept the Ukrainian capital that European soccer officials are drawing up contingency plans to stage the 2012 event elsewhere if demands are not met.

Yushchenko last month accused government officials of sabotaging the reconstruction of the Kiev stadium and called on the prime minister — with whom he has been at odds for months — to ensure the project went ahead.

A Taiwanese firm won a tender in April to carry out reconstruction of the stadium, estimated by the government to cost $300 million. The project also involves dismantling a shopping centre adjacent to the stadium.

(Writing by Ron Popeski, editing by Justin Palmer)

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