FA changes tack for Euro 2012 to avoid repeat of squad's isolation

 

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The Independent Online

With qualification almost within England's grasp, Football Association officials have been looking at possible base camps for next summer's Euro 2012 tournament and have narrowed their options down to two.

The FA is looking at one hotel 20 miles from the centre of Warsaw and another in a central location in Krakow but, as with their Royal Bafokeng base in South Africa for the World Cup finals last summer, there are some reservations about the standard of the pitches at both locations.

Capello has strict specifications about the training pitch for his senior team and will not compromise on quality. As a result the FA has organised for an expert to look at the quality of the pitches at both destinations to decide if they can be brought up to standard for next summer's tournament. There is no decision yet on whether the local organising committee, Uefa or the FA itself will have to pay for the improvements.

The decision to locate the team in or around Poland's two most attractive cities marks a change of approach from the World Cup finals when they were stationed out in the wilderness of Phokeng, a small town near Rustenburg in the country's North West province. That in itself was a reaction to the WAG-circus that accompanied the team in Baden Baden, Germany, during the World Cup in 2006.

This time Capello and his advisers hope that the team will be less isolated than they were in South Africa. Although Poland are joint-hosts with Ukraine, the FA has concentrated its efforts on finding a base in Poland which it believes, of the two countries, has by far the better facilities. The FA has always done its best to deliver the tournament base that each specific manager has requested.

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