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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » May 20, 2009
Euro 2012
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Hosts Chosen: Poland 4, Ukraine 2?
May 20, 2009   
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UEFA bosses announced May 13 that four Polish cities-Warsaw, Gdańsk, Wrocław and Poznań-will host European soccer championship matches in 2012. In Ukraine, games will be held for sure in Kiev and one other city. Of the six cities proposed by Poland, Cracow and Chorzów were rejected.

UEFA chairman Michel Platini announced the UEFA Executive Committee's decision in Bucharest. He said that all the Polish cities met the criteria for organizing Euro 2012; Chorzów and Cracow had been on the reserve list.

The committee rejected outright Odessa and Dnepropetrovsk, while the other three cities proposed by Ukraine-Lviv, Donetsk and Kharkov-have until fall to meet UEFA's requirements especially with regard to infrastructure and municipal transportation as well as airport modernization. If progress is deemed unsatisfactory as of Nov. 30, Euro 2012 will be held in the four Polish locations plus just two Ukrainian cities.

If preparatory work continues to run behind schedule, Kiev could also lose the right to host the final match of Euro 2012, which would be held at the National Stadium in Warsaw instead.

Both Polish Sports Minister Mirosław Drzewiecki and Polish Soccer Association President Grzegorz Lato said they were happy with the decision. Lato added that work would continue in Cracow and Chorzów to modernize stadiums and infrastructure, because even though no Euro 2012 matches are to be played there, the two cities will be hosting international matches of the Polish national team in coming years.

Hryhoriy Surkis, chairman of the Ukrainian committee organizing the championship, was clearly worried. The six-month grace period for meeting UEFA requirements in Ukraine was the result of unprecedented guarantees that President Viktor Yushchenko and the government in Kiev sent to Platini.

National Stadium
The National Stadium will be the largest venue built for Euro 2012. The new stadium in Warsaw will host the opening match of the championships, one quarterfinal match and one semifinal. The upper and lower stands running around the stadium will seat 55,000 people in total. Underneath the stands the stadium will have restaurants, exhibition halls, conference rooms, offices including those of sports organizations, VIP lounges, a sports museum, a shop for fans, a fitness club, and a physiotherapy center.
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