We use cookies to make sure our website better meets your expectations.
You can adjust your web browser's settings to stop accepting cookies. For further information, read our cookie policy.
IN Warsaw
Exchange Rates
Warsaw Stock Exchange - Indices
The Warsaw Voice » Other » December 19, 2007
You have to be logged in to use the ReadSpeaker utility and listen to a text. It's free-of-charge. Just log in to the site or register if you are not registered user yet.
Ukraine Races Ahead
December 19, 2007   
Article's tools:

Ukraine is gearing up for the Euro 2012 championships. Despite political turmoil in the country, it is further ahead in its preparations for the tournament than Poland.

The head of the Ukrainian soccer federation, Hryhoriy Surkis, played a key role in bringing the tournament to his country.

It was he who thought of applying for Euro 2012 jointly with Poland. He lobbied hard and had faith. He is determined not to allow any glitches in the Euro 2012 machine, even though the task is huge, including the building of roads, hotels and infrastructure. Coordinating efforts is vital. Euro 2012 is too big a deal to let slip by.

The head of the Ukrainian soccer federation is well aware of that. Surkis is not only a sports enthusiast, but also a businessman and politician, and also one of the wealthiest people in Ukraine. He was the first in Eastern Europe to realize that sport-especially soccer-can become sure source of making money.

United by one idea, both Poland and Ukraine overcame historical tensions and learned to cooperate.

However, meetings between local authorities from the two countries are the most important for Euro 2012.

Local governments and businesses quickly saw that together they could achieve more and started to communicate through their own channels.

With the clock ticking, Ukraine is further ahead in its preparations for Euro 2012 than Poland. The construction of a stadium for 32,000 spectators in Dniepropetrovsk is virtually completed and its official opening is planned for March. The facility in Donetsk, with a capacity of 50,000, is being built at a fast pace. Visually appealing and with a glass roof, it will be the biggest and most modern facility of its kind in Eastern Europe.

Meanwhile, a project to reconstruct the Olympic Stadium in Kiev for 73,000 spectators is ready. This is where the final match of the European championships in 2012 will be played. Ukraine has also finalized plans to build a modern stadium in Lviv and to renovate existing facilities in the backup cities of Kharkov and Odessa.

"We plan to designate $750 million for the expansion and reconstruction of sporting infrastructure in Ukraine," said Ukrainian consul general in Cracow Mikhail Brodovych during a conference in that city entitled Eurolog 2012 held Dec. 9-10. He added that in 2007 Ukraine concentrated mainly on organizational matters, while 2008 will be a year for "practical action."

The Ukrainian government has set up a National Agency for Euro 2012, which will start operating from the beginning of next year. It will be a central body coordinating all activities associated with Euro 2012. The government also adopted a central plan for preparations for the event. The combined planned value of all projects in Ukraine associated with organizing the European soccer championships will be $25 billion.

Rich backers

In one key respect at least, the use of public and private partnerships, Ukraine can serve as an example for Poland. Kiev is the best example. It is one of the four Ukrainian cities where Euro 2012 matches will be played. The other three are Lviv, Donetsk and Dniepropetrovsk.

Nearly 6.8 billion euros are required to modernize Kiev's infrastructure during the preparations for the finals of the European soccer championships in 2012.

The Kiev authorities are to provide 4 billion euros and the rest is to be financed by private investors. And Ukraine has quite a lot of them. Many of the wealthiest Ukrainians are staunch soccer fans, presidents of soccer clubs and often their owners. It is also thanks to them that the construction of stadiums and infrastructure in Ukraine is much more advanced than in Poland. The wealthiest citizen of Ukraine, Rinat Akhmetov, is the owner of Shakhtar Donetsk soccer club, which easily eliminated Legia Warsaw from the Champions League. Akhmetov is building a modern stadium in Donetsk, which was going to be built irrespective of Euro 2012.

Another Donetsk billionaire, Serhiy Taruta, owns the local Metalurh Donetsk club which is also modernizing its stadium.

The banker Ihor Kolomoysky is building a new stadium for his Dnipro-Dniepropetrovsk soccer team and Oleksandr Yaroslavsky is doing the same with the Kharkov Metallist stadium, at this stage a reserve facility for Euro 2012. The rebuilding of the Kiev Olympic stadium and the prewar stadium in Lviv will in turn be financed from the government budget, although Kiev's mayor, private banker and billionaire Leonid Chernovetsky, is already promising that he can contribute 200 million euros to the stadium, which in reality means funding the whole project.

Security a priority

Hooliganism is a problem across Europe. The problem is familiar to both the English, who have worked out good solutions for stadium security, and the Italians, who recently were shown to be helpless in dealing with aggressive gangs of hooligans. Both the Ukrainians and the Poles are pointing to event security as a top priority.

That was the topic discussed at a conference entitled "Safe Stadiums" in Kielce, central Poland, at the beginning of November. The vice president of the Ukrainian soccer federation, Boris Voskresensky, called for the speedy establishment of a Polish-Ukrainian committee to coordinate security at Euro 2012. "We have to prepare a bilateral security agreement as soon as possible," said Voskresensky.

Konrad Bagiński
© The Warsaw Voice 2010-2018
E-mail Marketing Powered by SARE