Michel Platini has said he is at last confident Ukraine can host Euro 2012.
After several ‘last chance’ warnings over the past three years, the Togel UEFA boss can tear a few fewer hairs out now the four stadia do seem to be on track for next summer.
“A year ago, we were deciding whether to leave four or two cities,” Platini told reporters on a tour of Kharkiv. “And today we have four cities.”
“There are no serious problems in preparing for Euro 2012,” he continued, “but there are many minor tasks and problems that need to be solved.”
For Platini, a successful Euro 2012 is crucial to his reputation as an organiser of big soccer tournaments as he continues his silent campaign for the FIFA Presidency at some point in the future.
The Frenchman has found the two hosts’ lack of infrastructure and slow construction progress compared to western European nations an ongoing headache, and has constantly had to threaten them with being stripped of hosting rights. Spain was the first nation touted as a replacement back in 2008, when World Soccer’s Keir Radnedge boldly announced neither Poland nor Ukraine would host Euro 2012.
Then Germany entered the picture, either as sole host or as joint organiser with Poland. Now it is clear UEFA is not turning back and is throwing its cards on the table with the two unknown East European hosts. By rights the tournament should have been Italy’s, but the calciopoli scandal and an upsurge in high-profile hooliganism let the duo in through the back door.
It promises to be a unique European Championship, a foretaste perhaps of the 2018 World Cup in neighbouring Russia.
The cheap transport promised to fans facing extraordinarily long journeys between venues (Gdansk to Donetsk is 933 miles/1502km) yet to materialise.
Next month Platini visits Poland to inspect their venues, with the opening date of Warsaw’s new arena still up in the air.
(c) Sean O’Conor & Soccerphile
UEFA EURO 2012 8th June -1st July 2012
Warsaw 58,224 (opening game and semi-final)
Kiev 63,195 (semi-final and final)
Lviv 34, 915
Poland, Ukraine, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Italy and ten others to be decided.
George’s Premiership Predictions September 24
George had a poor week last week in the Premiership and got only 2 correct results and no perfect scores. He is hoping for a change in fortune this week akin to Owen Hargreaves’ amazing debut for Man City in midweek..
G-Owen Hargreaves? Returning Midfielder 9/2 For Poland/Ukraine
Owen Hargreaves is 9/2 to make the 2012 Euro squad, whilst bet365 are also going 5/4 about out-of-favour Andy Carroll being on the same plane. Frank Lampard is now 1/2 (from 2/7) to make the Poland/Ukraine flight.
bet365 spokesman Steve Freeth “The big winner from Wednesday night’s Carling Cup ties was Owen Hargreaves and we’re basically pricing him on fitness as his ability isn’t in doubt.”
England Euro 2012 Finals Squad – Will They Make It?
Owen Hargreaves 9/2 1/8
Andy Carroll 5/4 4/7
Frank Lampard 1/2 6/4
Saturday 24th September 2011
Manchester City 2 v Everton 1
Arsenal 2 v Bolton 1
Chelsea 3 v Swansea City 1
Liverpool 2 v Wolves 0
Newcastle 2 v Blackburn 0
WBA 1 v Fulham 1
Wigan Athletic 1 v Tottenham 1
Stoke City 0 v Man Utd 3
Sunday 25th September 2011
QPR 2 v Aston Villa 1
Monday 26th September 2011
Norwich City 1 v Sunderland 1