FA 'mad' to give France an edge by ignoring top base in Ukraine

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The Independent Football

The Football Association's refusal to contemplate basing England in Ukraine for the European Championship, despite their group games being in Kiev and Donetsk, hands their rivals an advantage, according to Tomas Hubschman, Shakhtar Donetsk's Czech international.

England are based in Krakow, Poland, and so must travel a total of 4,800 miles to complete their three group games. The journey from Krakow to Donetsk is almost 1,000 miles and England play France and Ukraine at the Donbass Arena.

"The English authorities must be mad, not to even look at these facilities," said Hubschman. "As a footballer, I would prefer not to be climbing aboard a plane and a bus before a game. The French have given themselves a very big advantage over the English."

Hubschman is expected to be in the Czech squad for this summer's finals. He has been based in Donetsk for eight years and, like senior staff at the club's immaculate training facility outside the city, is baffled the FA did not even visit the complex.

Instead, the Kirsha facility will be used by France, who will also stay in the neat, on-sight accommodation. Large and secluded, but only a half-hour drive from the stadium, it appears the ideal tournament training camp. Laurent Blanc, the France manager, spent two days there last week agreeing the final details.

Fabio Capello and the FA decided on their approach ahead of the draw, choosing Krakow and a single pitch at the shabby Hutnik stadium. "A lot of European people feel a bit afraid of Ukraine without knowing anything about it," said Hubschman.