Soccer-Platini gives Ukraine three months on Euro 2012 plans
KIEV, July 3 |
KIEV, July 3 (Reuters) - Ukraine has three months to prove its preparations for hosting the 2012 European championship with Poland are on track, UEFA president Michel Platini said on Thursday, adding he felt confident of their success.
Platini said last weekend that Poland and Ukraine risked losing the right to host the tournament if stadiums in their capitals were not ready. He said UEFA would make a decision on that at a meeting in Bordeaux in late September.
Arriving in Ukraine after a visit to Poland, Platini met with Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and President Viktor Yushchenko -- whose personal backing for the joint bid to host Euro 2012 helped convince UEFA officials.
"You have three months to work together to give Poland and Ukraine a way of hosting a fantastic Euro," Platini said at a meeting with Yushchenko. "I am confident. But I need just a little guarantee."
Platini warned Ukraine about slow preparations in January, saying that the next few months were crucial. On Thursday, the had of European soccer's ruling body said those comments were meant to "wake up" Ukraine.
"We had some questions to ask you because not everything was exactly clear concerning many things in Ukraine -- the stadiums, the airports, etc," he said, addressing Yushchenko.
"You have answered straight away, and madame prime minister has also answered."
Both Yushchenko and Tymoshenko pledged to step up efforts.
"We will do everything, even the impossible, so that there will be a fantastic celebration for the entire world," Tymoshenko said at her meeting with Platini.
Ex-Communist Poland and former Soviet Ukraine face a colossal task in upgrading stadiums, building hotels and overhauling infrastructure including roads and airports if they want to stage their biggest event yet.
Both had immediate problems with stadiums in their capital cities which highlighted the problems the countries face.
In Warsaw, vendors who used the stadium as a bazaar protested at their eviction, while in Kiev wrangling over getting rid of a shopping centre adjacent to its stadium which blocked emergency exits continued for months.
After agreeing compensation to the centre's developer, demolition of the centre was begun just days ago. However, an architect is yet to be found for the stadium's renovation after the sports ministry ended talks with a Taiwan company.
(Reporting by Igor Nitsak; Writing by Sabina Zawadzki, editing by Trevor Huggins)
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