Herra Confident to Focus on Organisational Projects Over Infrastructure

June 14, 2011

In PL.2012 Chairman Marcin Herra’s first exclusive monthly column for iSportconnect, accompanying the portal’s new ‘Road to Euro 2012’ feature, Herra explained how the “most important investment projects are in an advanced stage of construction”, just a year before the tournament commences.

In his column, Marcin stressed the importance of “organisational projects and combining them with infrastructure” at the current stage of preparations. He claimed that the organisational aspects of the tournament, including the safety and security projects, medical care and rescue services, transport services and quality of visitor services, were the most “crucial elements” of the preparations at this stage.

After fears with regards to infrastructure of stadiums in the host nations of Poland and, in particular, Ukraine were allied by UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino in recent weeks, Mr Herra was keen to emphasise the enormity of the work that had been implemented in Poland thus far. He stated: “Three years ago, where the newly-built stadium in Gdańsk is located and where the final acceptance procedures are under way, there were just allotments. In Wrocław, where the final works are under way on the stadium with an over 40 thousand people capacity, there was just a field. In Warsaw, where today the facility over 80 per cent completed is situated, there was Europe’s largest open air market place.”

Marcin revealed that the stadium in Gdańsk, where the acceptance procedures are under way, will be put to use by the end of this month, a year ahead of the tournament’s kick-off. He also remained confident that the works on the National Stadium in Warsaw, an iconic design for the nation, will completed by the end of November.

Herra moved on to discuss another topic of high debate and importance to the competitions success and added that “ensuring security and safety is one of the most important elements of the Championships and an organisational priority for PL.2012 and its partners.”

The issue of hooliganism in Polish soccer has been a talking point since UEFA awarded the hosting rights to the 2012 tournament. Marcin insisted that the safety and security of the fans was of paramount importance to the organisers and was being ensured through a number of initiatives.

He said: “The Committee for Safety and Security at EURO 2012 associates over 30 institutions that shall be involved in securing the Tournament. All the tasks have been carefully analysed and allocated accordingly. One of the major achievements in 2010 was to develop an Integrated Safety & Security Concept, which specifies all the areas of individual responsibilities and tasks of the involved institutions. Currently, there are over 120 projects and 3500 tasks being implemented.”

Aside from the organisational aspects of the tournament, Herra claimed that “one of the premium quality elements of UEFA EURO 2012…is the UEFA EURO 2012 Host Cities voluntary service.” The service will entail “helping and supporting visitors and providing them with essential information about the event, means of public transport, and attractions available in the city.”

Marcin revealed that the recruitment of volunteers for the programme will begin in November and be completed in the first quarter of 2012 before the trainings for volunteers will begin. In addition, PL.2012 are launching a project called the Euro Academy to provide training for over 2,500 so-called ‘fan first contact people’, for example workers of the railway system, gastronomy and shopping services, and public transport. Mr Herra claimed that the training will include “English language courses, courses in customer service, cross-cultural differences in terms of customer service and in tourist attractions in particular regions in terms of organization of mass events.”

Herra concluded on a confident note, stating: “There is still almost a year to complete all the works that are already in a very advanced stage,” confirming that in the next few months, Polish preparations will be strongly focused on realising organisational projects, which he claimed will be “the most important for the quality of the Tournament.”

To read Marcin’s complete, first monthly column for iSportconnec, please click here