UEFA: Two Ukraine cities could still miss out on Euro 2012
Two Ukrainian cities still could be dropped from hosting Euro 2012 matches, a Ukraine football official said Tuesday, reported dpa.
The cities Lviv and Dnipropetrovsk, two of the five Ukrainian cities tapped as game sites, will be replaced if local officials continue to prepare for events poorly, said Ivan Fedorenko from the Federation of Football of Ukraine (FFU), citing a letter sent the FFU by the continental body UEFA.
The UEFA in April 2007 made Poland and Ukraine co-hosts of the 2012 European football championship. The Ukrainian cities currently set to host games include the capital Kiev, Donetsk, Lviv, and Dnipropetrovsk.
An alternate site to Lviv will be necessary if the west Ukrainian city fails to turn around currently stalled efforts to build a stadium from ground up, Fedorenko said.
Lviv's city government recently sacked a general contractor for the project over cost differences, and faces lawsuits by local residents alleging the city has no right to the land where the stadium is to be built.
Dnipropetrovsk in contrast opened a brand new first class stadium in September, but its Soviet-era airport is nonetheless incapable of handling international flights carrying fans to games, Fedorenko said.
Lviv's airport is somewhat better than Dnipropetrovsk's, but its runways still need a complete overhaul to come up to UEFA standards, he said.
Two other Ukrainian cities, Kharkiv and Odessa, are possible replacements. City governments in both locations have advanced football infrastructure preparations, well beyond Lviv and Dnipropetrovsk.
The UEFA will in May 2009 make a final decision on which cities would hold Euro 2012 games, Fedorenko said.
Federenko's report of the UEFA plans came one month after a visit by a UEFA delegation to Poland and Ukraine by UEFA head Michel Platini.
The former French footballing great gave his tentative approval to Ukrainian and Polish preparations for the tournament so far, but warned that if one country to do a better job getting ready to host its share of the competition, the UEFA could strip the other host nation of games.
Poland is rated ahead of Ukraine in transportation, communications and tourism infrastructure, while observers give Ukraine a lead in football stadiums and sports training facilities.
A weak point in both countries is insufficient hotel rooms, particularly outside the capitals Warsaw and Kiev.
Ukraine must also bring its transportation network to European standards - a task estimated by the Ukrainian government likely to cost five billion dollars for roads alone.