ONE YEAR TO GO BEFORE EURO 2012 – Marcin Herra
June 14, 2011
WHERE POLAND IS WITH THE PREPARATIONS?
Almost one year to go before Euro 2012 the most important investment projects are in an advanced stage of construction. The most important of these at the current stage of preparations are organisational projects and combining them with infrastructure. According to experiences of previous organisers of big events, high quality of organisation has a strong influence on event quality and host country image.
The crucial element of preparations one year before Euro 2012 is organisational projects, which will determine the quality of the Tournament. These include the safety and security, medical care and rescue services, transport services and quality of visitor services. These projects are already under implementation and after the final group draw in December 2011 they will be integrated with the existing infrastructure so as to create an integrated system for June 2012.
Stadiums – Euro 2012 top quality arenas
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.
The stadium in Poznań was put to use on 20 September 2010. Since then, mass events and matches at the facility have been attended by over 600,000 people. Today at the stadium in Poznań, the finishing works are under way related to ensure the maximum quality of the facility and procedures are under implementation as well as testing connected with its functioning, in particular with regards to security. In the coming holiday season the operator of the stadium will be selected. At the stadium in Gdańsk, which is ready, the acceptance procedures are under way. The stadium will be put to use by the end of June 2011. At the stadium in Wrocław the final installation and finishing works are under way. From July, Wrocław will commence the acceptance procedures. The rate of completion of the National Stadium in Warsaw is over 80 per cent, and the stadium will be ready at the end of November this year.
Top priority – safety and security
Ensuring security and safety is one of the most important elements of the Championships and an organizational priority for PL.2012 and its partners.
In May 2010, the UEFA EURO 2012 Committee for Safety and Security was appointed by the Prime Minister. It is headed by Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Interior, General Adam Rapacki. The proxy to the Chairman of the Committee is Mr. Tadeusz Zygmunt, National Coordinator for Safety and Security at PL.2012. One of the most important tasks that was implemented under the framework of the Committee’s work was to develop an Integrated Safety & Security Concept that identifies all the fields, scope of responsibilities, and actions of individual entities to be undertaken in order to ensure maximum safety during the Tournament.
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. The works are based on a modern PPM system, (Project Portfolio Management). In 2011, a series of legislative changes shall be carried out in order to ensure security and safety for Euro 2012, based on the “have fun, feel safe” principle. This concept will be provided to ensure fans are having fun during the tournament while at the same time being ensured a high level of safety and minimum, necessary intervention of security services.
The government accepted a draft law on ensuring safety and security in connection with the organisation of the Final Tournament of UEFA EURO 2012. Preparations are also under way before the so-called Consensus Conference to be held in June 2011 and attended by the countries whose teams will qualify for the Final Tournament of UEFA EURO 2012 as well as the neighbouring and transit countries, which is to address the issues of cooperation and the functioning of representatives of the other countries’ security services in Poland during the Tournament. Works are also carried out in connection with the plans to restore border controls in Poland during Euro 2012. At the same time projects are under development for Poland and Ukraine’s joint border and customs clearance to be performed in one place on the Polish side, and for the so-called Euro 2012 lanes. With the latter the fans will be cleared much faster during the tournament – in the case of passenger cars and buses, waiting times at border crossings in Poland and Ukraine will be reduced from the 4 – 5 hours today to 1.5 hours. Preparations have also been made on developing a structure and rules of operation of the EURO 2012 National Security Staff, including a diagram presenting the information flow on security management during the tournament.
One of the premium quality elements of UEFA EURO 2012, apart from other organisational fields, is the UEFA EURO 2012 Host Cities voluntary service (www.wolontariatmiejski2012.pl). The project, coordinated by PL.2012, is implemented under the same formula and standard in all the Host Cities. It is going to be the largest event of its type in this country’s history. The main task of trained volunteers shall consist of helping and supporting visitors and providing them with essential information about the event, means of public transport, and attractions available in the city. In May 2011, a special website dedicated to Host Cities voluntary service was launched (www.wolontariatmiejski2012.pl). It will serve the purpose of the recruitment of volunteers as of November. The recruitment will be completed in the first quarter of 2012 and then the trainings for volunteers will begin. Volunteers will work in public locations in the Host Cities of Euro 2012 in Poland, for example at the airports, railway stations, near the stadiums, hotels, and major urban traffic lines. Their primary task will be to provide, information on cities and their functioning during the tournament, transportation links, or tourist attractions to over 1 million tourists who will visit Poland during Euro 2012.
In an effort to provide the highest quality of service for foreign visitors during UEFA EURO 2012 a project called the Euro Academy is under implementation. This project provides 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. In a series of training sessions the project 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.
1 year to go
The aim of all the projects implemented by 170 organisations whose actions are coordinated by a special vehicle of the Minister of Sport and Tourism PL.2012, is to be fully prepared 12 months down the line, on 8th June 2012 – the day the Championships commence. There is still almost a year to complete all the works that are already in a very advanced stage. In the next few months, Polish preparations will be strongly focused on realizing organisational projects, which will be the most important for the quality of the Tournament.
The President of The Board, PL.2012