Platini warning to 2012 hosts

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The Independent Football

Uefa president Michel Platini today warned Poland and Ukraine they could still lose the Euro 2012 finals if their preparations in their capital cities fall behind schedule.

Platini said that in January work had fallen to a standstill but there had been progress in the last six months though it was "neither uniform nor constant".

The Uefa president told a news conference in Bordeaux: "It's not about the stadia, it's about the infrastructure, hotels and transport.

"We were promised new airports and we will not have new airports, we were promised new roads and we are still waiting.

"Both host countries must continue to make the necessary efforts as any slackening could put in doubt the organisation of this tournament in these countries.

"Warsaw and Kiev are the key issues. We cannot organise a European competition if the capitals are not participating."

Uefa's executive committee said the Euro 2012 decision was "final" but this could still be challenged if progress was not made in the two cities.

Uefa also gave the go-ahead for a six-man special investigation unit to target match-fixing and corruption in football, and revealed they are looking into 15 matches from last season and 10 Intertoto Cup and Uefa Cup qualifiers this season.

Corruption of referees and players, and match-fixing related to gambling, has become an increasing concern and Uefa have handed a report to Interpol detailing suspicions that 26 matches in the Champions League, Uefa Cup and Intertoto Cup had been fixed. Of these, 15 are still under investigation.

Uefa general secretary David Taylor said: "We will be setting up a special investigations unit to look into situations reported to us in terms of irregular betting. This is a danger in our game, we will not allow our sport to be destabilised by those who wish to manipulate it for their own monetary games.

"We are employing extra people and strengthening our early warning systems to fight the war against illegal betting and corruption."

Taylor said talks would be held with national associations with a view to forming a Europe-wide system covering all football competitions.

Uefa also rubber-stamped an expansion of the European Championships from 16 to 24 teams from 2016.

The decision came after a proposal from the Scottish Football Association and the Football Association of Ireland.

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