Euro 2012 – Ukraine and Poland

June 12, 2008

Ukraine may lose Euro 2012

Filed under: Ukraine — Ivan @ 4:30 am

KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine could lose the right to co-host the Euro 2012 football tournament due to delays in the renovation of Kiev’s Olympic stadium, an official from the Ukrainian soccer federation was quoted as saying on Thursday.

President Viktor Yushchenko has grown increasingly concerned in recent weeks over the slow progress of preparations and has given the organising committee until June 18 to resolve key issues.

UEFA President Michel Platini has criticised preparations in Ukraine and is to make another visit on July 1-2. Poland is the other co-host.

Rumours have periodically swept Ukraine’s capital that European soccer officials are drawing up contingency plans to move the event elsewhere if demands are not met.

A Taiwanese company, Archaisa Design Group, won a tender to carry out reconstruction of the 80,000-seater stadium at an estimated cost of $300 million (150 million pounds). The project also involves dismantling an adjacent shopping centre.

After months of wrangling over compensation, a deal was clinched to dismantle the centre but there is no sign of work starting.

“The Asian company appears incapable of finishing the project and building work in time because of a lack of appropriate materials and building resources,” Boris Voskresensky, a deputy head of Ukraine’s Soccer Federation, told the daily Sport Express.

“There are now, overall, two variations. First, the government establishes that the Asians are incapable of meeting the conditions to complete the job and calls for a new tender,” Voskresensky, responsible for stadiums, told the daily.

“The second — UEFA decides it is impossible to hold Euro 2012 in Ukraine. This, you will understand, is something that does not even bear thinking about.”

Platini and senior UEFA officials have repeatedly said they will not discuss the situation regarding the 2012 tournament while Euro 2008 is still in progress in Austria and Switzerland.

When asked by Reuters on Wednesday whether UEFA was aware of the latest possible problem affecting preparations for 2012, UEFA’s Director of Communications William Gaillard replied: “I was not.

“There have been many rumours and statements surrounding 2012 and we prefer to wait until we hear it straight from the horse’s mouth when the President visits next month after Euro 2008 is over.”

Voskresensky meanwhile said the Taiwanese firm had agreed to a plan under which the stadium would have a capacity of 85,000, but had since proposed a scheme for no more than 50,000 seats.

“You will understand that this suits neither our country or UEFA,” he added.

Ukraine President Yushchenko’s strong support for the bid was key in persuading UEFA to give Poland and Ukraine the right to host the competition.

Both countries face colossal challenges in upgrading rail and road links, modernising airports and building hotels.

(Additional reporting by Mike Collett in Basel)

(Reporting by Igor Nitsak, Writing by Sabina Zawadzki; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Miles Evans)

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