|Marcin Herra - Chairman, Poland 2012|
Tuesday, 07 December 2010 12:28
There has been a lot mentioned about the hooligan and racist element of fans in Poland – What is being done to improve the situation at the tournament?
The problem of hooliganism and racist elements of fans is still serious in different countries around Europe. The profile of the football fans during tournaments such as the UEFA European Championships is completely different than that of league games. This event has more of a family and business character and hooligans are just a small portion of all fans.
One of the main areas of Poland’s preparation process to Euro 2012 is safety. Since mid-May 2010 a UEFA EURO 2012™ Safety Committee established by the Prime Minister has been in place. It is chaired by undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Interior and Administration, general Adam Rapacki. Tadeusz Zygmunt, the National Coordinator for Safety and Security at PL.2012, is the authorized representative of the Committee’s chairman.
One of the Committee’s major tasks was to develop an Integrated Safety and Security Policy defining all areas, responsibilities and activities of different acts in order to ensure the maximum possible safety during the event. Currently final consultations on the policy with UEFA are underway.
Safety and Security areas are excellent examples of the efficiency and effectiveness of project management tools on which the preparations in Poland are based. Currently over 100 projects have been identified and described in detail as part of the schedule and scope of the preparation work - this means about 2,500 tasks, which until 2012 will be carried out by officials, have been identified in the system and are responsible for different safety and security areas during the event in Poland.
One of the most important elements of safety during the tournament in Poland is working on a special educational campaign which is focused on football fans. The main target of this project is to educate them, promote positive and professional football supporting, and finally to change the quality of football supporting in Poland. We believe that football fans have a lot of positive energy, which can be used during the tournament for keeping up a warm atmosphere in UEFA EURO 2012.
Our main motto in the safety area is, “have fun, feel safe” which promotes a great sporting atmosphere of celebration without interference on the part of law-enforcement authorities.
What have you learnt of other tournaments that have taken place in countries such as South Africa with the World Cup?
From the very beginning we have been working with past organizers of big sports events, which has given us good knowledge and experiences. Such cooperation is available in every area of the Polish preparations, for instance security and safety, airports and air transport, intellectual property and mobility concepts. We are also working with international experts in selected areas of preparations. Our delegations were observers of big sporting events such as Euro 2008, the Football World Championship 2010 and Olympic Games 2008.
Will volunteers have an important role during the Euro 2012 tournament?
The preparation of an integral volunteer system is of great importance to us. The number of volunteers due to work during Euro 2012 in airports, railway stations, hotels and other important places in public spaces of host cities will be approximately 3,000. They will provide fans with information on transport traffic schedules in order to reach the place they need, the places where they can stay overnight and eat, etc. We need to organize an integrated system when a fan from any country would be able to address a uniformly dressed volunteer and receive the same high-quality information in all EURO 2012 cities. In order to attain this, we have to introduce a single working standard as early as the stage of recruitment and training of volunteers. We are currently working on this project with 4 host cities. Volunteers will also work in the sporting part of the championship, but UEFA is already dealing with this.
Do you believe with Poland and the Ukraine being awarded Euro 2012 – and Russia in contention for staging the 2018 World Cup – this is a good catalyst for developing countries to be able to stage world class events?
The process of preparations and organization of UEFA EURO 2012 affects on the acceleration of the country’s development in many different areas – from infrastructure and social development, to serious impacts on the Polish economy. The economic effects of the organization of the UEFA EURO 2012 can be divided into direct and indirect ones. The direct effects are the following: a short-term increase in revenue from foreign tourism resulting from the inflow of football fans and guests during the UEFA EURO 2012 event, more investments in sports, tourist and transport infrastructure as well as short-term growth in demand connected with expenditures for the organizational matters of the event financed out of the operational budget of the UEFA.
The indirect effects of the organization of the UEFA EURO 2012 are the following: the country’s higher tourist attractiveness and a related long-term increase in the number of incoming tourists and tourism consumption, growth in the country’s economic productivity resulting from a quantitative and qualitative improvement of the status of the transport infrastructure, more private investments of Polish origin as well as an increase in the country’s investment attractiveness leading to a higher inflow of direct foreign investments (DFI) and additional growth of the economic potential.
An increase in revenue from tourism in June 2012 will amount to PLN 768 million calculated in the 2008 steady prices (PLN 844.9 million in current prices). Good organization of the UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland can help to considerably increase the number of foreign tourists coming to Poland for holiday reasons (a so called ’Barcelona effect’) by strengthening the image of Poland, as a country attractive to tourists. This will be accompanied by the development of tourist facilities and acceleration of investments in transport infrastructure enforced by the organization of the European Championships. The tourist attractiveness of Poland measured with an Anholt-GfK Roper NBISM benchmark in the tourism category will grow by 0.8 point thanks to the organization of the UEFA EURO 2012, i.e. to a level corresponding to the attractiveness of Hungary. As a result, the annual inflow of foreign tourists coming to holiday in Poland will rise by 489,000 people. Such an increment will result in higher revenue from international tourism in Poland in the years 2013-2020 by PLN 4.2 billion calculated in the 2008 steady prices. This effect will be more than 5 times higher than a short-term increase in revenue from foreign tourism in June 2012 resulting from the inflow of football fans to Poland. The total revenue from foreign tourism in the years 2012-2020 should grow by PLN 5.0 billion (in the 2008 steady prices) out of which the biggest annual growth will be in 2012 thanks to the inflow of football fans and foreign guests to the host cities of football matches.
The major economic impulse related to the organization of the European Championships is the acceleration (time transfer) of investments in the transport infrastructure (such as roads, railways, municipal transport and airports) as well as the construction of stadia and team base camps. The economic effect of the UEFA EURO 2012 is an increase in the GNP by 2.1 per cent in comparison with its 2009 value. The increase is spread for the years 2008-2020. An absolute value of the cumulated increase of the GNP is PLN 27.9 billion.
The most important source of favourable economic effects of the Euro is the acceleration of investments in the transport infrastructure. This will enhance the cumulated growth of the GNP by 77.5 per cent.
How important is it having the 2012 Olympics in Europe (London) a few weeks apart from Euro 2012?
The Olympics Games in London and UEFA EURO 2012 are completely different and uncompetitive sporting events. Organizing these big events a few weeks apart is a great sporting celebration for every sports fan. As organizers we can exchange our experiences and knowledge. The main difference between these 2 events is that The Olympic Games is a challenge mainly in infrastructure and we, as organizers of UEFA EURO 2012, have to focus not only on infrastructure projects but also on organising aspects like mobility concepts, security and safety and volunteers. We have to remember that there are different kinds of guests and sports fans during these events. The Euro tournament is focused on only one spectacular sporting discipline. In the stadia and the cities in so called fan zones there will even be whole families. UEFA EURO has much more familiar and popular specifics in comparison to the Olympic Games, which are focused on several very specialized sport disciplines, which affects on the fan profile.
How do you think Polish football will benefit from hosting Euro 2012?
The preparation process and organizing of Euro 2012 affects on the fast development of the sports infrastructure in Poland. After Euro 2012 Poland will have one of the most modern stadia in Europe. The majority of them will be used by league teams. Providing modern infrastructure to the league teams usually has an influence on increasing their sporting skills and achievements. Well prepared and modern infrastructure combines with better sports results of teams and can also affect on increasing football clubs and whole leagues incomes. Finally, elite class stadia which are built for Euro 2012, will also change the structure of football fans profiles and in consequence the quality of football supporting during the games.