Football boss warns Ukraine faces Euro 2012 ‘crisis’

April 23rd, 2008 - 3:02 pm ICT by admin  

Kiev, April 23 (DPA) A senior Ukrainian official has warned of “crisis” in the former Soviet republic’s so far shambolic preparation effort to co-host the Euro 2012 football championship. “We once again are on the doorstep of yet another crisis because of our chronic violation of UEFA deadlines and our inability to keep up with the (Euro 2012 preparation) programme,” Hryhory Surkis, chairman of the Football Federation of Ukraine, said.

“We have shown a year of very poor results,” Surkis said, according to an Interfax news agency report.

Surkis was speaking at an organising committee reviewing the first 12 months of efforts by the country to get ready for the blue-ribbon sports event.

The UEFA in April last year awarded Poland and Ukraine rights to co-host the tournament. Since then Ukraine has done little to get ready, Surkis said, pointing to slow repair of stadiums for the games, stagnant construction of hotels to house fans, and a stalled government programme to overhaul roads and airports, due to a lack of funding.

“We can lose our right to host this event if senior government officials continue as they have before, doing nothing, violating laws in place for the preparations, and even ignoring executive orders signed by the president,” Surkis charged.

Sukris blamed “corrupt officials” and “government unwillingness to take its employees to task” as a major cause for the as yet failed preparation efforts.

UEFA has not threatened to take away hosting rights from the Ukrainians, but could do so during a planned June 27 review of efforts by Poland and Ukraine to get ready, he added.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko Tuesday repeated calls to the national legislature to pass four bills making law much of the national Euro 2012 preparation effort.

The legislation has been stalled in Ukraine’s parliament for months, because of disputes between its members, in part, over how to pay for infrastructure overhaul, and which private companies should receive lucrative hotel construction contracts.

A UEFA council meeting Friday voted to investigate the state of the five Ukrainian and five Polish cities tapped as game sites for the tournament, and to inspect the stadiums and local infrastructure.

Poland is woefully behind in stadium construction but possesses a functional hospitality industry, usable mass transportation, and relatively modern airports.

Ukraine has made uneven progress on stadiums, but its service industry is unacceptable by any European standard, its airports are mostly Soviet-built, and its public transportation network is in large part primitive and unreliable.

Minutes from the UEFA meeting singled out as particularly unacceptable a planned stadium in the western Ukrainian city Lviv where, a full year after Ukraine was named as a co-host, at the planned site of a modern stadium ground had not been broken and a construction company was yet to be named.

Both nations require massive investment into their road and rail networks, in order to handle an estimated one million fans expected at the championship.

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