Ukraine Unveil Kiev’s Olympic Stadium for Euro 2012

October 10, 2011

Ukraine unveiled its Kiev’s Olympic Stadium on Satuday with the structure being the showpiece venue for UEFA Euro 2012 even after plagued development.

Colombian pop star Shakira headlined an opening event that drew 60, doctor 000 spectators to the venue, unhealthy which will host five games at next summer’s tournament, here including the final itself. The road to Saturday’s re-opening has been far from smooth however with the project dogged by construction delays and accusations of corruption. Work was initially scheduled to be completed in June, while costs have soared from a projected Eur110 million ($149.3m) when development commenced three years ago to Eur585 million ($794.2m).

UEFA president Michel Platini even threaten to strip the tournament from Ukraine in April 2010. But Platini’s opinion changed last month when he stated that only “some little problems” remain to be ironed out before Ukraine is ready to stage Euro 2012, praising the “tremendous” progress that had been made over the past year. However, the Olympic Stadium project has continued to prove controversial with opposition figures in the country claiming a lack of transparency in financial arrangements and criticising the cost of the redevelopment.

Their was a clear indication of dissaproval on Saturday as AFP reported Ukraine’s President, Viktor Yanukovych, was jeered as he spoke at the ceremony. “Today the whole country is celebrating,” said Yanukovych. “The new stadium is a gift to all our people, especially the children among whom there are champions of the future. The successful reconstruction of the NSK Olimpiyskiy has become the leading project for Ukraine’s image. I have no doubts that, at Euro 2012, Kiev and Ukraine will welcome visitors from many European states to the very highest standards.”

The new 68,000-seat Olympic Stadium will stage its first football match on November 11 as Ukraine takes on Germany in a friendly.