Ukraine's Euro 2012 prep boss: UEFA won't change hosts
The agency head of Ukraine's Euro 2012 preparation effort said he was "absolutely sure" the UEFA will not at an upcoming review sack the former Soviet republic as co-host, the Korrespondent magazine reported on Wednesday.
Evhen Chervonenko, chairman of Ukraine's National Agency for Preparation of the tournament, told reporters in Kiev "I must explode the myth that the Strategic Council meeting of the UEFA on June 27 will be a black day for Euro 2012 in Ukraine," Chervonenko said.
"The meeting...will be devoted wholly to practical issues," he said.
Ukraine and Poland were in 2007 elected by the European football body UEFA to co-host the prestigious tournament, reported dpa.
Since then Ukraine's government has failed to begin most preparations due to wrangling over bureaucratic turf and award of construction contracts.
The UEFA Friday meeting has been widely predicted by the domestic and international media to consider stripping Ukraine of its hosting rights.
The Polish Gazeta Polska on Tuesday reported an upcoming report on Ukrainian Euro preparations in which UEFA shows a "red card" in various categories including hotels, roads, and even stadiums in two out of the five host cities.
The report said the shortfalls were enough by UEFA standards to strip Ukraine of the tournament.
But Chervonenko dismissed the news reports, saying the upcoming UEFA meeting will limit its agenda to "the discussion of stadium construction and repair projects, airports, hotels, and transportation infrastructure."
Ukraine will at the meeting deliver a "more detailed general plan" to UEFA bosses, he said.
A visit by UEFA head Michel Platini to Ukraine, reportedly July 3- 4, "are no grounds for fear," Chervonenko added.
Chervonenko's optimistic comments prior to the upcoming UEFA meeting stood in contrast to his own statements from last week in which he accused the Ukrainian government of preferring to play politics, and refuse financing, than to avoid a "major international embaressment" if Ukraine is stripped of the event.
Unconfirmed reports in the Ukrainian sports media suggested that UEFA may move some or even all of the games from Ukraine to Poland, or that the whole tournament is moved to Spain.
The infrastructural changes needed in Ukraine to meet all UEFA standards are daunting, including the construction of thousands of kilometres of European-standard roads, the erection of dozens of currently non-existant hotels, and the improval to international standards of Soviet-built airports, train stations, and public transport.
Ukrainian officials have set an ultimate price tage on the Euro2012 prep programme in excess of four billion dollars. The Ukrainian government according to recent official statements hopes private investors will provide some 80 per cent of the money.