England told: it is crackers for you to stay in Krakow

There is anger in Ukraine that Rooney and Co will undertake 2,000-mile round trips to play group games...and will use a Fourth Division Polish team's facilities instead


As England struggle to get preparations for Euro 2012 back on course after the departure of Fabio Capello, further concerns have been raised about the Italian's insistence that the England training base would remain in Krakow, Poland.

England will play all three of their group games in Ukraine; one in Kiev and two in the eastern city of Donetsk. In interviews late last week, local officials in Donetsk expressed amazement at what they called a "mistaken" decision that will involve England travelling thousands of miles to matches.

England could progress all the way to the final and win the tournament without ever having to play a game in Poland, but have still chosen to take the mediocre training facilities of a fourth division Polish team, while overlooking one of the best training camps in Eastern Europe in Donetsk, which France will use.

"We understand that there are some issues here with transport, and hotels and so on, but training facilities are the one area where Donetsk is genuinely up there with the best in Europe," said Alexander Atamanenko, CEO of the Donbass Arena, home of Shakhtar Donetsk, the 2009 Uefa Cup winners, and the stadium where the Euro 2012 matches will be held. "When I saw the photographs of their training camp in Poland, I have to say I was surprised."

England will face round-trips of nearly 2000 miles for each of their games in Donetsk, as the city is about the same distance from Krakow as London is. They will also have another 900-mile round trip for the match they play against Sweden in Kiev. If they win their group, they will play their quarter final in Kiev, while if they finish as runners-up, the quarter-final will be in Donetsk. While other nations waited to see where their games would be played before making a final decision on a base, the FA selected the Krakow facility before the draw was made. Capello was determined to remain in Poland, saying immediately after the draw that he would "absolutely not" consider moving the team's base to Ukraine. A team from the FA visited Donetsk the very next day after the draw was made, but did not even look at available training facilities.

Reporters who have visited the England base in Poland say the medical facilities are non-existent and the pitches in need of repair. The FA have insisted that the base will be fully renovated before England arrive, but it does beg the question of why they did not opt for one of the bases in Ukraine that are already up to the required standard, and have the advantage of actually being in the country in which England will play.

The French snapped up the training ground of Shakhtar Donetsk in the days after the draw. Shakhtar's base is an impressive facility just 20 minutes' drive outside Donetsk, with accommodation on site, a restaurant, full medical facilities and nine practice pitches. Former Arsenal striker Eduardo da Silva, who now plays for Shakhtar, said the facilities were "at least as good as those at Arsenal".

The Ukraine squad will naturally be based in their home country, while Sweden, the other team in England's group, will use the facilities of Dinamo Kiev. Only England will face long flights and nights in temporary accommodation before each game.

Sources in Donetsk told The Independent on Sunday about the England team's plans for Donetsk. They claim that the squad will fly in a day before the games with Ukraine and France in the city, and stay at the Ramada, a Soviet-era hotel that has been renovated with Western-style three- and four-star fittings. Some reviews on the website Tripadvisor.com in recent months have been less than glowing. One recent guest complained that "smoking is rampant everywhere", while another noted that the tap in the bathroom had to be run for two or three minutes before hot water came out.

When The Independent on Sunday was shown around the hotel's standard rooms last week they appeared pleasant enough but very small, with not much space beyond that taken up by a small double bed. The hotel only has eight "semi-luxury" and three "luxury" rooms, so most of the England squad will presumably be put up in the small standard rooms. The only truly five-star hotel in the city, the Donbass Palace, is out of bounds to teams, as all the rooms have been set aside for the "Uefa family".

Even if the next England manager decides that Capello's decision to insist on the facilities of a fourth division Polish side rather than a Ukrainian Premier League team's base was mistaken, it will be too late to move the squad to a base in Ukraine. Uefa required teams to submit their final choice of venue by 31 January.

Officials are disappointed about the uptake from England fans, saying that Uefa has informed them that of 30,000 tickets available over the three group matches through the FA, only 6,000 have been bought. A lack of information about accommodation and transport options has deterred many fans from buying.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Rodgers showered praise on Balotelli last week, which led to speculation he could sign the AC Milan front man
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home