Euro 2012 co-hosts face Uefa rebuke
Wednesday 17 September 2008
European football's governing body Uefa will rebuke Poland and Ukraine again next week over a lack of progress in their preparations to host Euro 2012, but will stop short of withdrawing the right to stage the event.
A long-awaited progress report on the ability of the two countries to host the European Championship is to be submitted to Uefa's executive committee next week. It will criticise both nations, but will not recommend Uefa reverse its decision, a source familiar with the report claimed.
"The report has yet to be finalised, but from what I have seen so far, no, it will not recommend that Poland and Ukraine lose the tournament," one source said. "Basically, it will criticise heavily both countries for lack of progress, but also praise some of the efforts that have been made since Uefa president Michel Platini visited. But crucially it will say it is too early to take a decision on whether to withdraw the tournament from them."
Platini has visited Poland and Ukraine twice this year and warned officials they risked losing the right to stage the event if stadiums and infrastructure were not ready. Next week's report is based on a visit by Uefa inspectors to the two countries last month.
Poland and Ukraine were awarded the 2012 tournament last year, beating off competition from Italy and a joint bid by Hungary and Croatia. But both countries have struggled to tackle the colossal tasks of upgrading stadiums and modernising airports, rail and road networks and hotels.
Poland is suffering from labour shortages in construction, while Kiev is struggling to renovate the 84,000-seat Olympic stadium, due to stage the final.
Warsaw said in July it is prepared to provide six of the eight venues needed for the tournament if its co-host is not ready on time. "We are still waiting on the final details of the report, but the main concern in Poland will be on the infrastructure such as motorways, rail links and hotels," another source said. "Ukraine will most likely face more criticism than Poland as there are a lot more outstanding issues with Kiev."
Uefa officials have denied any contingency plan exists to move the tournament. But some Uefa sources have suggested Spain, Germany and Italy as alternatives. "We know full well that there are a number of countries ready to step in," a Uefa spokesman said.
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