Ukraine grounds fit for purpose – unlike England's logistical efforts

Venues in Donetsk and Kiev pass muster – even if they are hundreds of miles from team hotel

At night the Donbass Arena is lit up, its outside casting a blue glow across the parkland that surrounds it. Despite controversy over racism, pricing, inadequate infrastructure and a lack of accommodation, there is one area where it is possible to cast Euro 2012 in a positive light; its stadiums, particularly the two where England play, are happily fit for purpose.

England kick off their tournament on Monday in the Donbass Arena, home of Shakhtar Donetsk, the champions of Ukraine and the country's richest club. Designed by the architects behind the Allianz Arena in Munich, the Donbass was the only one of the four Ukrainian stadiums that did not require upgrading or rebuilding for Euro 2012. It was completed three years ago at a cost of £225m – money provided by Rinat Akhmetov, the industrial billionaire who bankrolls the club – and it will have a capacity of 50,000 for the Euros. From the pitch there is an intimate feel to the ground and when full, which it may not be for England's games, it is a noisy, atmospheric arena.

The dressing rooms, painted in the club's distinctive black and orange colours, are spacious. Comfortable leather-bound chairs, one in front of each locker, are arranged in a semi-circle facing a wall, on which a large whiteboard is pinned. Off the main changing area are roomy medical areas.

The stadium sits in the middle of Donetsk – a city founded in the 19th Century by a Welshman, John Hughes. It is a starkly industrial city, and England's players will be able to pick out a slagheap and pit head from the nearest coalmine as they make their way to the Arena. But the footballing facilities are as good as any in the Premier League.

England will make the 930-mile journey from Krakow on Sunday – teams have to be in the host city the night before a game. France, their opponents, will have a 30-minute coach ride from their base, Shakhtar's training ground. Like the stadium, it is as good as any in England but it is also bigger and includes accommodation.

Fabio Capello was determined not to repeat the mistakes of the World Cup in South Africa in 2010 and isolate the squad – it was he who insisted on Krakow – but the Shakhtar training facility, while close enough to the city for the players to venture out, is also secluded from fans and media. The German football association reserved it ahead of the draw. The Dutch FA was also interested. The French moved to snap it up after the draw and Laurent Blanc has made a couple of trips with his back-room team to ensure its set-up is to their liking; the FA did not even send a representative to tour the facility.

The 60,000-seater Olympic stadium in Kiev, where England meet Sweden, was rebuilt for the tournament. Although smaller, it resembles its counterpart in London with a running track around the pitch; inside, however, it feels more like a football ground. The dressing rooms are large, if not as plush as the ones in Donetsk.

It will be a 540-mile journey for Roy Hodgson's squad – again their opponents will have a trip measured in minutes. Sweden will train at Dynamo's centre on the outskirts of Kiev (where Ukraine are also based) and stay at a hotel in the city.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
football
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam