German firm awarded contract for Ukraine's top Euro 2012 stadium

Other News Materials 7 August 2008 22:38 (UTC +04:00)

A German firm on Thursday was named the contractor to overhaul Ukraine's top stadium for the Euro 2012 football championship, despite a competing Taiwan company's insistence it already had won the contract.

Management of Kiev's seat Olympic stadium have signed a formal work agreement with representatives of the German archictural firm Gerkan, Marg und Partner (GMP) as a first step of a construction programme worth 314 million dollars, the Interfax news agency reported.

Officials from Ukraine's Ministry of Sport in April seemingly picked Taipei-headquartered Archasia Design Group to do the job, but the government of the former Soviet republic backtracked on the commitment, claiming possible corruption in the award, the dpa reported.

Archasia corporate heads have repeatedly stated their bid won a competing tender fair and square, and have threatened to sue.

The work order with GMP calls for three phases to modernize the stadium, starting with a 60-day planning period, followed by a 180- day design period, and concluding with blueprint production and ground-breaking, and actual construction.

Leaders of the UEFA, the organizer of the Euro 2012 competition, in recent months have warned Ukraine stood to lose its hosting rights if it failed to kick-start currently moribund work on the stadium, where the final game of the tournament is scheduled.

The Soviet-era stadium, built in the 1920s, also will host three group matches, one quarterfinal, as well as the final in the summer of 2012.

The UEFA named Ukraine and Poland as Euro 2012 co-hosts in April 2007. Since then Poland has moved forward with preparations for the blue ribbon sports event, while Ukraine has done little.

Kiev's Olympic Stadium has been a focal point for critics of Ukraine's preparation effort. Aside from the row over which foreign contractor would get the overhaul contract, two commercial clans in the Ukrainian capital have for years been locked in a pitched battle over land ownership next to the stadium.

A partially-built shopping centre next to the stadium must go, UEFA officials have said, in order to make the renovated stadium safe for evacuation.

Ukraine's central government attempted repeatedly to tear down the shopping centre, only to have city judges stay the wrecking balls after the shopping centre's owner sued.

During a June visit to Ukraine by UEFA head Michel Platini, demolition work was restarted for a single day, until Platini left.

Work on tearing down the shopping centre currently is moving forward with delays, because of new disputes involving the stadium, most recently between the shopping centre's owner and the mayor of Kiev over compensation for the value of the land.