Addressing a session of the Coordinating Council to prepare and host Euro-2012 Apr. 22, president of the Ukrainian Football Federation Grigory Surkis said he is prepared to cooperate with anybody, ranging from mayors of host cities to local government officials that have a role in preparing for Euro-2012 finals in Ukraine. His desperation can be explained by the fact that experts say that none of Ukraine’s Euro-2012 infrastructure meets UEFA standards.
Down follows the text of G. Surkis’ address:
“On Apr. 18, the date of UEFA decision to grant Poland and Ukraine the right to host Euro-2012, UEFA monitoring committee had its session. The issue was not to drop Poland and Ukraine off the list of host countries. None of UEFA officials has ever raised the issue.
Instead, members of the monitoring committee listened to the reports by experts who had examined the condition of stadiums and infrastructure in the host cities. Their reports were perfectly objective.
Let me quote some facts given in their reports.
The next 3 to 6 months will be very critical for preparation of stadiums. Only if all the deadlines are met on time can we say that the stadiums will be ready by Euro-2012. In case of a slowdown in projects implementation for any domestic or outside reasons, the stadiums will not be completed in time. So far, none of the stadiums is fit to meet UEFA standards.
UEFA experts have not noticed any substantial progress made in this area. At present, none of the airports can handle the passenger flow set by UEFA. The possibility to use alternative and stand-by airports to handle the traffic are being examined. All Ukrainian airports have the highest risk level – red.
Except for Warsaw and Krakow, other host cities do not meet UEFA demands for accommodation of fans, even considering the 2-hour commuting level to which UEFA agreed. Four cities, Gdansk, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk and Kharkiv, do not meet UEFA standards set for the time of handing in applications to host Euro-2012.
According to UEFA experts, no significant changes had occurred since the initial report was made. Meanwhile, all host cities proposed ambitious projects to expand their transportation facilities.
Mr. President, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that these skeptical assessments have been made by experts in the run-up to May 5, the time when Ukraine is to submit to UEFA its comprehensive action plan outlining specified infrastructure elements with the sources of funding, dates of commissioning and persons responsible.
Incidentally, in line with the cabinet resolution of Feb. 23, all central and local executive agencies as well as local governments involved had to update their action plans and harmonize them with the country’s master action plan, specifying preparation of stadiums, hotels, hospitals, airports.
Unfortunately, this has not been done. We are faced with failures to meet UEFA deadlines. We will hardly be able to catch up with UEFA deadlines in 2008. That is why UEFA has expressed its grave concern and issued a stern warning to Poland and Ukraine, giving 4-6 months to rectify the situation. This term expires on June 27. On this day, UEFA monitoring committee will sit, followed by a session of UEFA executive board session the next day.
If nothing is changed, I do not dare to predict UEFA reaction. Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials continue to disregard their duties and presidential decrees and government resolutions. Corrupt officials use the present snafu to line their pockets by taking investors by the throat. They do not care about the attractive investment climate and transparency crucial for such a giant project.
The Ukrainian parliament is bogged down in endless political wrangling, delaying the approval of important laws to implement the Euro-2012 commitments of Ukraine. Corrupt local officials are also fishing in murky waters blocking preparations for the football tournament.
I have never expected that preparations for Euro-2012 will be clouded by such grave problems. The project puts up a lot of challenges for Ukraine, and we are fully responsible for meeting them. Can we do this? It is not a rhetorical question. This question is also asked by UEFA president Michel Platini, who has plans to come to Ukraine in the wake of Euro-2008 tournament. His motives are very strong for holding Euro-2012 in Ukraine and Poland. Remember what he said when UEFA was discussing the site for Euro-2012,”I want Eastern Europe to host our tournament in 2012.”
I would like very much to see that our deeds match these plans of Platini”.