Ukraine firm to overhaul stadium for Euro 2012 final

Other News Materials 18 November 2008 19:09 (UTC +04:00)

A Ukrainian construction firm will likely be named the general contractor for a massive overhaul of the stadium slated to hold the Euro 2012 final, a government official said Tuesday, reported dpa.

Three home-grown companies are in the frontrunning for the project estimated at 365 million dollars (290 million euros), Anatoly Berkut, Vice Minister for Regional Developement, told a news conference.

The firms he identified - Kievgorstroi, Ukrmonolitspetsbud and Stalkonstruksia - are among the former Soviet republic's top construction firms. However, none has experience building a football stadium to international standards.

Currently only one UEFA-standard football stadium, in eastern Dnipropetrovsk, is operational; with a second nearing completion in the final stages of construction in the neighbouring city Donetsk.

Both stadiums were built from scratch by foreign construction firms.

Kiev's Soviet-era Olympic Stadium, the scheduled venue for the Euro 2012 final, would likely be modernised by a Ukrainian firm because "these companies in technical terms are the most capable for the job," Berkut said, according to an Interfax news agency report.

The Ukrainian government would name the general contractor for the project by December 1, and begin work on the stadium by the beginning of 2009, he added.

A key factor in determining which firm got the nod for the project would depend on the company's ability to build a stadium roof - a construction project never before attempted in Ukraine, he said.

Ukraine and Poland were named co-hosts of the Euro 2012 football championship in 2007. Since then both nations have seen delays in preparations, with the modernisation of Kiev's Olympic Stadium named by UEFA chairman Michel Platini as among the most problematic.

Political infighting between Ukrainian commercial clans produced repeated delays in the project, including the hiring and subsequent sacking of a Taiwan construction firm as the Olympic Stadium general contractor. The company is now suing the Ukrainian government for breach of contract.

The world economic downturn has slammed Ukraine's construction industry, with hundreds of buildings left half-built, and the country's banks in a credit crisis.

The Olympic Stadium overhaul is, with its government support and taxpayer funding, among the largest construction projects still considered viable in Ukraine's now mostly-stalled economy.