Platini warns that Kiev may lose Euro 2012 final

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The Independent Football

Kiev could lose the right to stage the final of Euro 2012 while three other Ukrainian cities must prove their suitability to stage matches in the competition, the Uefa president, Michel Platini, said yesterday.

Platini had hoped to announce the eight venue cities for the European Championship but, clearly disappointed, could only confirm four in Poland – Warsaw, Poznan, Wroclaw and Gdansk – along with the Ukrainian capital, Kiev.

He said the Ukrainian cities of Lviv, Donetsk and Kharkiv would all have to prove their suitability by 30 November – adding that Warsaw could yet stage the final instead of Kiev if all of Uefa's pre-conditions were still not met.

"There are still many problems to be resolved in Ukraine. There are huge infrastructure problems," he told a news conference after Uefa's Executive Committee met in the Romanian capital. "The final match will be held in Kiev only if specific conditions with regard to the stadium, airport infrastructure, regional transport and accommodation are met," Platini said. "Kiev is OK according to Uefa's criteria for all matches leading up to the semi-final. But certain other criteria must be met to stage the final as well. If it's not Kiev it could be Warsaw."

The Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk, which was expected to be named as one of the four cities to host games was also dropped as a venue in place of Kharkiv, which was on the reserve list. In a further slight to Ukraine, which has suffered more than most European countries in the global financial crisis, Platini said Uefa could proceed with four Polish cities and only two from co-hosts Ukraine.

"If the Ukrainian cities cannot fulfil the criteria then we will organise Euro 2012 with four cities in Poland and two in Ukraine, and we will pick the second Ukraine city after Kiev from the best of the other three," he said.

Platini said progress had been made but a huge amount of work remained to be done in both countries. He ruled out the tournament being staged anywhere other than Poland and Ukraine, but said the executive committee would closely monitor progress being made over the next six months.

Grigory Surkis, the president of the Ukraine FA and a member of the Uefa Executive Committee called for patience and understanding and said he was sure Kiev, which will stage group matches and a semi-final, would keep the final. "Uefa have given us until November 30th to improve and I am sure we will," he said.

Preparations for the tournament have been blighted since the two countries were announced as co-hosts back in 2007. The tournament, the last to be contested by 16 teams before 24 finalists take part from 2016, is scheduled to run from 9 June to 1 July. It will be the third to be co-hosted after Belgium and the Netherlands staged Euro 2000 and Austria and Switzerland had the Euro 2008 competition.

Last month Platini visited both countries and hinted then that more matches could still be staged in Poland rather than Ukraine.

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