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The Warsaw Voice » Other » December 19, 2007
EURO 2012 - Round Up
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Euro 2012 Cities
December 19, 2007   
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Poznań Prepares

Poznań's local authorities have created two companies to help organize the Euro 2012 soccer championships, which Poland is co-hosting together with Ukraine. One company will be responsible for stadium building, the other for infrastructure.

The former's job will be to modernize Poznań's existing stadium. The work will include improvements to the surrounding infrastructure and other buildings required for soccer matches.

The second company will be responsible for the design, building and repair of infrastructure required for the organization of the tournament.

These companies are empowered by the local authorities to represent them in all dealings with contractors. The companies will source and prepare all documentation, apply for purchase and building permits, take part in real-estate expropriation procedures, and sign and supervise supply, service and building contracts.

Warsaw Plans Tax Breaks

With Euro 2012 in mind, Warsaw's city council has drafted a plan to give tax breaks to real estate developers in the sports and tourism sectors. The tax breaks would be available to companies building one- to five-star hotels, soccer stadiums, swimming pools, golf courses and boxing arenas. The tax breaks would be in place for four to five years but on the condition that projects are completed by the end of 2011. Currently, there are 107 hotel beds per 10,000 inhabitants in Warsaw.

Gdańsk Cranks up the Pressure

In October, the coastal city of Gdańsk established the BIEG company, or the Euro 2012 Investment Office, on the basis of a special law regulating Poland's preparations for Euro 2012. BIEG's main task is to build the new Baltic Stadium, but it will also have a mandate to develop other sites designated by the government as Euro 2012 projects. The law allows the company preferential treatment during tender processes. BIEG received zl.2 million in starting capital from Gdańsk city coffers. Gdańsk Mayor Paweł Adamowicz appointed three members of BIEG's supervisory board. These are his deputy Marcin Szpak, City Treasurer Andrzej Bojanowski, and his Euro 2012 advisor Adam Giersz. Two other supervisory board members have been appointed by the province chairman and the governor of Pomerania province.

Chorzów Ready to Join the Fray

Meanwhile, the southern city of Chorzów in the Silesia region is fighting to become an Euro 2012 venue.

In a vote during a Poland-Belgium game in mid-November, which Poland won, sealing its advancement to next year's European championships in Austria and Switzerland, some 21,000 soccer fans said Euro 2012 matches should be played at the city's ¦l±ski Stadium.

"We are all happy that we can celebrate this historic success," said Silesia Province Chairman Janusz Moszyński after the match. "Personally I am proud that this success happened here at the ¦l±ski Stadium. The stadium, always full of positive energy, also turned out to be a fortunate venue for our players."

Ideas for a slogan to promote the stadium were also collected during the match, which attracted 47,000 fans.

Cracow Back in the Game?

Interior Minister Grzegorz Schetyna was the first government official to give hope to the Silesia and Małopolska regions that they might still get to host Euro 2012 matches. Schetyna said that Chorzów in Silesia and Cracow in Małopolska may be able to join other Polish cities as Euro 2012 venues.

"We will fight to increase the number of cities in Poland where Euro 2012 matches will be played," said Schetyna. "But it must be remembered that first we must build six new stadiums that conform to UEFA standards."

Sports Minister Mirosław Drzewiecki was even more optimistic. "If we complete six stadiums then matches could be played in all six locations," he said. "This has been agreed with UEFA, and there are no barriers to prevent one country from using six stadiums to host championship games."

Drzewiecki's statement came on the heels of a visit by Jacques Lambert, an envoy of UEFA President Michel Platini, to Poland and Ukraine. "After this visit we are much closer to expanding the list of Euro 2012 participating cities to include Chorzów and Cracow in Poland and Kharkiv and Odessa in Ukraine," said Drzewiecki. "Lambert was also impressed by the support given to Cracow and Chorzów by other cities despite the fact that each of these cities may lose one match if Cracow and Chorzów also become Euro 2012 venues."

Another fact that may help Cracow and Chorzów and the two Ukrainian cities in their fight for the right to host Euro 2012 matches is that the final decision rests with the UEFA executive committee. A member of this committee is Hryhorij Surkis, the president of Ukraine's soccer federation.

Wrocław Enters the Game

Wrocław is among Polish cities with the highest number of taxis per person. With 3,500 cars accommodating an average of four passengers each, the city can guarantee comfortable and safe transportation for everyone. The city has 20 taxi corporations which can pick you up from any location in just a few minutes after your call.

Taxis and vehicles carrying people with disabilities will use the same roads as other kinds of municipal road transport. A special taxi zone will be marked out near the stadium without access for private cars. Cars with disabled people will be allowed to take them straight to the stadium.

The Wrocław tramway network is very dense in the neighborhood of the Olympic Stadium. The system of tramway lines enables access via two independent Euro 2012 tramway routes. Two tram terminuses are situated right next to the stadium. This extended tramway infrastructure enables efficient, flexible and dependable transportation to and from the event. The city is planning to launch special tramway lines between the stadium and railway and bus stations. The other means of municipal transportation near the stadium will be extended as well.

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