UEFA President Pleased with Ukraine’s Progress for Euro 2012 after Tour
September 28, 2011
UEFA president Michel Platini’s tour of Ukraine has led him to believe that the country is on schedule to co-host Euro 2012 after completing a tour of Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kiev and Lviv and receiving assurances from Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.
“There are no serious problems in preparing for Euro 2012, but there are many minor tasks and problems that need to be solved,” he said during the two-day tour.
He noted that Lviv’s stadium roof was not finished and Donetsk airport’s runway required upgrading. Further work was needed on transport improvements in Kharkiv and delivering more and better hotel accommodation in Donetsk, he pointed out.
Platini told a press conference in Kharkiv: “Two years ago we were still facing the issue, whether we can organize Euro 2012 in Ukraine. A year ago, we were deciding whether to leave four or two [host] cities and today we have four cities, and we need to efficiently use the remaining time to prepare for the championship.”
Platini offered praise for Kiev’s Olympic stadium, venue for the Euro 2012 final where construction problems have delayed completion.
The stadium has undergone a renovation costing an estimated $576 million.
“I went out onto the grass of the stadium and kicked a goal. So I can say for sure that that stadium is ready,” quipped Platini in comment carried by DPA.
Kiev’s stadium is due to be officially opened on Oct. 8.
The UEFA boss and his inspection team spoke with Yanukovych at the venue.
Yanukovych insists Euro 2012 will leave Ukraine with huge legacy benefits when UEFA’s Euro 2012 circus leaves town.
“I’m confident that the infrastructure built in Ukraine will serve many generations,” he was quoted as saying by Interfax to reporters after his meeting with Platini. “This is a historic event in the life of our country,” he added.
Accompanying the UEFA delegation on the inspection tour were Deputy Prime Minister Borys Kolesnikov and Hryhory Surkis, head of Ukrainian FA.
Platini scheduled to inspect Poland’s Euro 2012 host cities – Gdansk, Poznan, Warsaw, Wroclaw – from Oct. 11 to 13.
Along with the Kiev stadium, Poland’s showpiece venue in Warsaw has also been beset by delays. Platini will be hoping to see significant progress when he visits in two weeks time. No date has yet been set for the Warsaw stadium opening.