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The long road to Kiev

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Mihir Bose | 14:46 UK time, Monday, 7 July 2008

Uefa is happy with the progress being made in Poland to get the country ready for Euro 2012 but are very concerned about Ukraine.

That is the message coming from the headquarters of European football following the visit of an inspection delegation led by Uefa president Michel Platini and including executive members Geoff Thompson, former FA chairman, to these two countries.

William Galliard, Uefa's director of communications, told me: "We are very pleased to see the effort being made in Poland. Poland has got a good management team together and they are preparing six stadiums. Poland should be fine. The prime minister (Donald Tusk) told us Poland is determined to succeed.

"In the Ukraine, things are fuzzier. We got a lot of promises but we shall have to see concrete progress on stadiums".

Privately, Uefa sources tell me that they are very concerned about the state of play in Ukraine and are finding it difficult to match promises with reality.

During the visit Uefa officials met with the President of Ukraine, Vicktor Yushchenko, who told them that he would be prepared to spend five million Euros in building 4,500 kilometres of motorways.

But that is the entire length of the French motorway, which took more than 50 years to complete. For Ukraine to promise to undertake such a gigantic construction exercise in four years seems physically impossible.

Despite Uefa's unhappiness with the Ukraine, and fears that unrealistic promises are being made, it does not mean that come September, when the executive is due to meet, a decision will be made to take the championships away from Ukraine.

One Uefa source said: "We cannot just do that. We have to wait and see how they get on."

However, following the visit the Polish media is already speculating that if the Ukraine cannot get its act together then the Poles would be prepared to take the burden of hosting the championships on their own.

This is in marked contrast to when the two countries won the bid, defeating Italy in the process.

Then it was Ukraine that seemed more enthusiastic with Poland a shade more reluctant.

Ukraine has made progress on two stadiums: in Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk but they were the result of private initiatives.

Shaktar Stadium, Donetsk, as of April 2008

Even here the major problem of infrastructure such as road and rail links need to be solved.

One solution could be for Poland to host much of the Championship, with the Ukraine getting a couple of matches in stadiums that are ready.

One exception to this will be Kiev, where there are major problems with the stadium.

Any decision to take the Championship away from Ukraine, or downgrade the country by not playing in its capital city, will be a major one, involving delicate political balancing acts within the Uefa executive.

So while hosting Euro 2012 will continue to be a headache for Platini and his executive, the end result, probably not likely until next year, may be more of a compromise rather than showing Ukraine a red card.

Comments

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  • 1. At 5:42pm on 07 Jul 2008, TeessideGuru wrote:

    You're famous extensive contacts are surely very impressive Mehir. Anyone not fully aware of your impressive contacts would think you'd just read all this in a newspaper and then passed it off as your own investigavtive work. But thankfully that could never happen. Excellent work sir. more please.

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  • 2. At 5:54pm on 07 Jul 2008, GraymeadYNWA wrote:

    surley the answer is to give 5 or six stadiums to Poland so the Ukraine can focus man power on building the 2 or 3 stadiums needed to stage the tournament rather than the four which they are clearly strugling to finish

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  • 3. At 6:01pm on 07 Jul 2008, akhibby wrote:

    I dunno #1, I haven't seen that picture in any paper yet. Could be he spoke with someone who has a camera.

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  • 4. At 6:25pm on 07 Jul 2008, robinewebber wrote:

    It seems as though the situation in the Ukraine is very tricky indeed. Obviously the Ukraine has not been able to meet the promises which they made in their bid to host the tournament, and I see two major issues which could arise from such a scenario, both connected to the economics of hosting such a major tournament. The hosting of the Euro or the World Cup is a huge economic boost for the country awarded the tournament, this is undeniable, and secondly, in order for a country to successfully host a tournament their must be an existing infastructure to support the event, which obviously has great costs attached. In my mind the issue is one of 'It takes money to make money', it seems as though only economically successful countries have a real chance of hosting a successful tournament, which in turn increases their wealth and international prestige. I believe that UEFA has realized this and hosting the tournament in two countries somewhat relieves the economic burden of the years leading up to the event. The problem in this situation is that when one of the host countries is unable to meet their commitments then the other countrie must suffer. If Ukraine is unable to host the event then Poland is left in a tricky position of either having to forgoe holding the tournament, thus losing the capital invested in the buildup, or must attempt to host the event alone which may simply be too big of a burden for the country.

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  • 5. At 7:04pm on 07 Jul 2008, tarquin wrote:

    As expected it'll go ahead, if Poland is looking good then that's something and it would've taken a lot to make UEFA change, not quite sure where Ukraine is going to get enough money for these stadiums or roads/airports tho - but i expect Poland to save the day, although i don't see 2012 being anywhere near as good as 2008

    Is it Ukraine or 'the' Ukraine, people often say 'the' before it, is that correct or is it something from the soviet era or something?

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  • 6. At 7:52pm on 07 Jul 2008, chalobilly wrote:

    What are the financial rewards for the host countries? ie,tv rights, uefa products,ticket sales etc. Or are uefa the major financial winners from these tournaments and if so where does the money go?
    Also, what about fifa and the World cup?

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  • 7. At 8:07pm on 07 Jul 2008, bcfcblock17 wrote:

    I attend the RA dinner on Saturday evening in which Geoff Thompson was the guest speaker - I have my doubts before of the guys running the game - I have now seen for myself Mr Thompson was super and a very impressive... so I now have some confidence – however I wonder how planning and building experts went…. And let’s face it the Chinese are you only really experts…. If you consider the building and generation programmes currently happening in China.

    The problem is FIFA and UEFA have given these major sporting tournaments to developing nations – and while this may look good – the risk is huge and now they are panic stricken – and if I were in control England Germany, Spain, Italy, Brazil and USA would all by on stand-by….

    But when is the tipping point –there will be a point when Poland is to advanced – but not advanced enough!!!!!!!!

    Stop now and revert to plan B - not going to happen....

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  • 8. At 8:26pm on 07 Jul 2008, pompeyhotspur wrote:

    Great article Mihir.

    I am half Polish myself (mother is from Poland) and visit the country very often. I'm also a keen follower of polish football, so am only too aware of the importance and excitement of the 2012 European Championships to the Polish people (not just football fans).

    Poland has made huge strides in terms of development in the past 15 years, and has never staged such an important event. This event will, for the first time, bring significant focus on one country for a sporting event.

    The inefficiency of Ukraine in terms of their progress is concerning. Poland have already stated that they will now develop 6 of the 8 stadiums if need be. Mihir's article is the first time i have seen a suggestion that Poland alone could stage these Euros - though the current stadiums (not including those being constructed) are not the best quality, and in my opinion, not fit to host such high profile games.

    Bearing in mind Poland's efforts, and all the work that has gone into the project to date, surely it would be very unfair if UEFA were to pull the plug on them?

    There is a well known saying in Poland which translates to 'strength of the Polish worker'. Never underestimate their work rate, and do not for a second think that Poland will not have the stadiums ready in time - they will. it is Ukraine which is the problem.

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  • 9. At 8:59pm on 07 Jul 2008, mcmas42 wrote:

    To answer histon4europe, the name of the country is "Ukraine", WITHOUT the "The". I asked a Ukrainian friend to be sure and they is what they prefer and, indeed, what is correct.

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  • 10. At 9:06pm on 07 Jul 2008, Unfashionables wrote:

    No simpathy for UEFA or Platini at all. Quite simply if they snub the likes of England with it's far superior infrastructure already in place then they can sit and worry about how the Euro's are at risk of becoming a laughing stock. Mr Platini has alot of opinions he is more than willing to air, so thats see how they cope with some criticism.

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  • 11. At 9:49pm on 07 Jul 2008, shivam_man utd - banned wrote:

    Ukraine might not be ready as their country is not properly developed so they won't be ready.

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  • 12. At 10:19pm on 07 Jul 2008, WebbyFoxes wrote:

    Hi Mihir
    Great Article.
    If the Ukraine isnt up to it, can Poland surely handle the competiton on its own?
    UEFA have hit themselves with a serious bad own Goal.
    Euro 2008 was great being in Austria/Switzerland but maybe the co-hosting should be scrapped.
    If Poland can host it without Ukraine then they should go for it but is there a Plan C should Poland and The Ukraine fall behind???
    UEFA need to get Ukraine into high gear.

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  • 13. At 10:56pm on 07 Jul 2008, Agent Eighty wrote:

    Why was a country like the Ukraine even considered to host the tournament anyway? With a badly developed infrastructure and crumbling stadiums it was a bad idea from day one. It is highly unlikely that Wembley, The Emirates Stadium or Old Trafford will see any international finals soon so why would a country that doesn't even have a major stadium in its capital be considered ahead of the England, Scotland, France, Spain, Italy, Germany or Holland?

    I would also like to see an end to the co-hosting of tournaments, a country is either able to host a tournament or it isn't. Euro 2012 will come round soon enough and I can only forsee a glum, mismanaged event with a genuine possibility of disaster! No pressure then!

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  • 14. At 00:20am on 08 Jul 2008, andywright23 wrote:

    I've lived in Poland for 2 years and will probably be living in one of the Polish host cities (Wroclaw) during the tournament. I'm obviously made up for the Poles - but it was funny no one seemed to care until they were awarded it!

    I'm actually surprised they are 'on track' because the reports I hear from Poland are that all the good workers are abroad (guess where) so they might have to recruit from China or other cheap sources of labour - even use prisoners.

    If anyone has used Polish roads you will know the entire country needs to be modernised - I have never travelled on a 3-lane motorway there and often find myself on cobbled or badly maintained roads. And the train service, whilst punctual, has rolling stock maybe 40, 50 years old (although it makes you think you're in some film noir which is kind of cool).

    I think that awarding this to Poland and the Ukraine has been a great motivator for these countries to really start bringing themselves into the 21st century - and I think a lot of people will be surprised about the rich and beautiful culture and country there.

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  • 15. At 00:35am on 08 Jul 2008, davidmcgurty wrote:

    I think what is misunderstood by many who think only developed nations should host these events, is that its not just the stadiums which are regenerated, but a lot of the country's infrastructure, such as roads, public facilities etc. Th epeople of these countries also benefit long term.
    it will also help promote the country in question and develop it hrough the tournament build up and aftermath.
    good on uefa for spreading the wealth and allowing other nations to share in the benefits a tournament like this brings.

    I would like nothing better than a home competition, but fairs fair, uefa have been sensible in their inclusive thinking. Its far to easy to give it to england, germany, france and italy. Our domestic leagues are more than enough to support a football driven infrastructure, lets give other european countries a chance to get on the footballing map.

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  • 16. At 08:35am on 08 Jul 2008, BRATISLAVSKY wrote:

    Ukraine cannot host a perfect championship, but was it ever going to? Will South Africa or Brazil for that mattter? There shouldn't be any problems about stadiums for group matches. Donestsk and Dnipropetrovsk are almost finished. The Lviv project is in trouble but Kharkiv could step in, with a new ground already nearing completion there (plus Kharkiv boasts the biggest public square in Europe-perfect for uefa's 'fan festivals' or whatever). Apparently they are beginning reconstruction of the ground in Odessa also, which would be a fitting venue for 2012. The refurbishment of the stadium in Kiev should be done if they start by the end of the year. However, the motorways will in all likelihood not be built. I'm incensed that Yushchenko is now making the kind of pie-in-the-sky promises to uefa that he's renowned for making to the Ukrainian people. It's so sad to see that politicians here have just used the championships as another means of political finger-pointing and vain wrangling over trvialities. People are still putting their little schemes and personal 'payday' ahead of what would be a payday for the whole of Ukraine. The country needs to wake up, fast!
    Jonathan Hibberd, Kiev, Ukraine

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  • 17. At 08:42am on 08 Jul 2008, quickquip wrote:

    Gee, maybe Euro 2016 should be co-hosted by Ukraine and the Ukraine, give them a little more time to develop their infrastucture and settle on a proper name and all. And then the Poland can host Euro 2012 all by its lonesome. Actually, THE Ukraine went the way of THE Soviet Union even though they've apparently still retained a lot of the old construction and planning practices. It's official, according to The Economist 2008 Style Guide, "Do not use the definite article before... Ukraine." It's as archaic as using it before Punjab. So the UEFA can keep it accurate when they announce they're cancelling Ukraine's co-host status.

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  • 18. At 09:24am on 08 Jul 2008, Rolf McHarris wrote:

    Why not just give the thing to Poland/Ukraine in 2016 instead of 2012?

    That way they have the time and dont get offended. And another country can host 2012 instead.


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  • 19. At 09:58am on 08 Jul 2008, moysie12345 wrote:

    why not think about the selection proccess a bit more reolisticly. from now on pick countries that HAVE the stadiums ready or have enough stadiums to still host an event even if the building of new ones goes wrong. E.G ENGLAND, we have at least 50 stadiums capable of holding a big event bigger than most of the stadiums usually used in the euros/world cup

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  • 20. At 10:10am on 08 Jul 2008, StMoney wrote:

    Maybe WE could lend Ukraine some Polish builders!

    Doubt UEFA are worried Germany is next door with some A1 stadiums could be a 3 way split?

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  • 21. At 10:29am on 08 Jul 2008, JoDan wrote:

    What amazes me Mihir is how poor your information is. As someone who runs a company working on sports events I am amazed you can only come up with this.

    Perhaps if you go to the Ukraine and talk to those on the ground you will see things are not as bad as expected.

    SA 2010 was having all these issues for the first 3 years as do most events and they soon get up to speed.

    The fact is Ukraine has spent millions and set aside billions so will come through.

    Maybe in future you can ask the people who know what's going on instead of digging up inacccurate stories.

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  • 22. At 11:39am on 08 Jul 2008, Sam K wrote:

    "...prepared to spend five million Euros in building 4,500 kilometres of motorways..."

    Surely, Mehir, you mean "billion Euros". But that's an aside.

    For those crying "Why give these championships to developing nations?" you answer is surely in the question. These nations are developing, and what better incentive to get their act together than hosting a major competition, with millions of potential visitors, commercial and tourist revenue to boost a fledgling economy.

    Yes, it's always going to be a risk, but one thing the like of England, Italy and Spain definitely do not need is more money from football. Would any of you like the Euro Championships to cycle through the mega-rich footballing nations?

    If a nation can promise facilities and infrastructure surely they deserve a chance to deliver on those promises.

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  • 23. At 11:50am on 08 Jul 2008, RedConuil wrote:

    There are far too many negative posts here. I expect that the tournament will go ahead in four years time in Poland and Ukraine perfectly.

    I think the choice of Poland and Ukraine was definitely a risky one, but one that I personally think was very good. Of course there are many countries which are better prepared for these tournaments. The likes of England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy could host them with no problem. Even countries such as Scotland could probably give it a decent go, although they'd need an extra stadium or two. However, if we went down this road then the tournaments would constantly be in the same countries. This isn't very interesting for travelling fans, and not very fair for the countries either. There are a lot of economical benefits that go along with hosting a competition like this. UEFA have obviously taken this into consideration when picking Poland and Ukraine. Their economies are weaker, but they will gain a lot from hosting this competition. We have to realise that football is also a business, and not just a sport.
    I also hope that in future there are many more co-hosted tournaments. I'm from Ireland and would love to see a competition being hosted here, but like many other countries we simply could not do it alone. If we were to co-host with Scotland or Wales then it would be fine. So the option of co-hosting opens to the doors to many more countries, and this is good. It spreads the benefits of football over the world. More local fans will get to go, and more economies will benefit from the tournaments.

    As far as Poland and Ukraine go, I don't think we need to worry. Four years is a long time. The last thing UEFA will want to do is change plans. The footballing world will give as much support to Ukraine as is needed. It will go ahead fine.

    I personally look forward to the tournament in four years time, and many more co-hosted tournaments.

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  • 24. At 11:54am on 08 Jul 2008, AllanOC wrote:

    Shouldn't you be more worried about getting London ready for the Olympics in 2012?

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  • 25. At 11:59am on 08 Jul 2008, Sam K wrote:

    Sorry, Mihir - spelt your name wrong in my last post (http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/mihirbose/2008/07/uefa_is_happy_with_the.html#comment22)...

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  • 26. At 12:06pm on 08 Jul 2008, U11954473 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 27. At 12:19pm on 08 Jul 2008, DougCoglan wrote:

    AllanOC, nobody criticises the english more than the english. Our Olympic committee is heavily scrutinised and the whole project attacked every step of the way to the most expensive games in history.

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  • 28. At 12:43pm on 08 Jul 2008, Pantryboy wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 29. At 12:59pm on 08 Jul 2008, The Vodka Yeti wrote:

    Here we go again, Mr Bose, picking holes, writing negative articles about Euro 2012, first it was a very one-sided "outsiders" point of view about the state of hooliganism in Poland and now this.

    I'm not denying Ukraine has many obstacles to overcome, but since most football fans will be flying (as geographically it's a huge country thus too far to drive between matches), as long as the airports are up to scratch, and the hosting cities have enough hotels, good local transport infrastructure and top class stadiums (all achievable in four years) then this will good enough for visiting fans.

    Do you remember all the many gloom and doom reports in the build-up to the Greece Olympics in 2004? And how many reports do you remember during Olympics 2004 about folks there not having a good time?

    I've been living in Poland six years, close to the Ukranian border, so I get plenty of updates on what is going on, far more positive then negative.

    Euro2012 will be just fine, enough of the negativity Mr Bose!

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  • 30. At 1:36pm on 08 Jul 2008, a dog named spot wrote:

    Oh yeah, pick on the Ukraine. I'm sure if you wanted to find an example of an over-running stadium project, you could look about 4 miles NW of the BBC.

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  • 31. At 1:51pm on 08 Jul 2008, Arsenal Column wrote:

    I don't see that if Ukraine aren't ready then they would use the two stadium's that are ready. They don't want to make it feel like a separate part of a tournament.
    However I think Ukraine will be ready but as you mentioned in an earlier article I have a feeling it will feel like two separate tournaments. Heres hoping that is not the case.

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  • 32. At 2:04pm on 08 Jul 2008, Easy wrote:

    It's good that UEFA are giving these tournaments to lesser developed European nations. It's a great incentive for those governments to come up trumps and invest in infrastructure that will last for years and which would have been delayed for many more years had it not been for the pressure of hosting a Euro.

    Not ideal maybe, yes there are concerns, but it is brave and UEFA could easily have taken the easy option and picked Italy.

    You keep hearing about the "legacy" of the Olympics, well the Euro's have the opportunity to leave a legacy too. That's part of the package and part of what good "sport" can achieve in the widest sense.

    It's over to you, Ukraine. Your move.

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  • 33. At 3:44pm on 08 Jul 2008, dmcurran wrote:

    I think co-hosted tournaments are generally not as enjoyable as those held within a single nation. FIFA has recognised that and are unlikely to repeat the Japan/Korea experience - its time that UEFA realise the same. Holland/Belguim, Austria/Switzerland not as good as Sweden 92, England 96 and Portugal 04. Poland/Ukraine is a step too far and a clumsy naive decision on behalf of UEFA to award such a massive tournament to two relatively underdeveloped footballing nations again.

    Award the whole thing to Poland and let the Ukraine experience serve as a lesson to other foolish UEFA administrations the folly of awarding important events to such ill prepared nations. As for South Africa 2010...roll on an entirely new thread....

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  • 34. At 4:02pm on 08 Jul 2008, desouzablog wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 35. At 4:44pm on 08 Jul 2008, 81to45 wrote:

    Mr. Mihir Bose,

    Is it a typo or Vicktor Yushchenko really said 5 million Euros for 4,500 kms of motorways? Because if it is not a typo, then per km of motorways building in Ukraine costs just 1111.12 Euros, which I find unbelievable. That would be some achievement by Ukraine.

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  • 36. At 8:01pm on 08 Jul 2008, singhdeol wrote:

    If Ukraine is unable to host the the Euro, then why the hell did it bother to bid in the first place?
    Poland has made real, actual accomplishments in its infrastructure but it cannot hold this tournament on its own. It's too much of a burden to hold on medium-income country. It's admirable that the Polish have improved their stadiums and built more.

    If Ukraine can't do the job, then South Africa will be a disaster.

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  • 37. At 10:13pm on 08 Jul 2008, mickcorri wrote:

    I read this chap's blog regularly-it is always original and inventive-
    I am not sure what the main stadium is like now in warsaw-
    last time I was there it was a massive market called the 'euro market'-
    and what was weird - the stadium inside was untouched- thousands of wooden benches and worn out pitch-
    bit like the old wembley

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  • 38. At 04:26am on 09 Jul 2008, dudeBigmac wrote:

    Well after reading all these comments I am amazed that Poland are so confident! as I now live in Gdansk and I have seen the waste ground where there proposed Stadium is going to be built! As there has not even been one brick laid and as for roads and transport to the stadium again not a digger in site!

    I hope I am wrong but I don't believe Poland will be ready for 2012 unless they act now and FAST

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  • 39. At 11:38am on 09 Jul 2008, JoDan wrote:

    Poland will definitely be ready. Having spoken to HOK and and a couple of other firms who design and build the stadiums for Euro 2012 they assure me things are on track.

    They are in fact more worried about delivering 2010 in South Africa and the London Olympics than they are the 2012 Euros.

    The main reason they say is that the Ukraine and Poland want these Championships and have a wish to show the world what they can do and be put on the map.

    South Africa and the UK do not have the same passion and also have far too much internal squabbling at Local, Regional and National Governmental levels.

    The Euros will happen and will be in both countries and yes the stadums may only just be finished days before. However, Athens was still paining the stadiums and laying tarmac 2 hours before the opening ceremony and did things well.

    Things are too well planned and far too advanced now for this not to happen.

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  • 40. At 1:09pm on 09 Jul 2008, gazzalw wrote:

    Well I live in THE United KINGDOM which is actually 2 Kingdoms, a Principality, The Channel Islands (which are two Bailiwicks ruled by our Queen who is actually Duke of Normandy, not even a Duchess) and the Isle of Man (actually a crown dependency with it's own parliament) and a Province (again with it's own parliament at Stormont) ruled by a QUEEN.

    Makes perfect sense.

    .... and we could easily redevelop 8 stadiums in time using Polish and Ukrainian builders.

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  • 41. At 1:11pm on 09 Jul 2008, Mancman19 wrote:

    It is all very well for Platini and co to be ferried around in limos everwhere. How many times do they have to use public transport to get to games?

    For those of us who follow both our club and country abroad, it is often genuine fans who are forgotten about. It's all very well having decent stadiums, but it is actually getting to them that is the important bit. Do-gooders at UEFA forget about this. Instead they give a big tournament to countries that don't have proper infrastructure. Rings a bell from going to Moscow.

    The fans following their countries will be the ones who have to put up with it all. Ancient trains/buses and old roads that pretend to be motorways. Give up on sharing these tournaments out and keep it to the main countries who have a football heritage.

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  • 42. At 1:16pm on 09 Jul 2008, kevinboatang wrote:

    So, if Ukraine is not ready, arrangements will have to be made. MAybe with Poland. Maybe Ukraeine will be half rady, a bit ready or have one stadium ready. In that case they may hold some games, no games or one game.

    This may be in Kiev, where there are some sort of unexplained problems with the stadium, but a great advert for Lonelyplanet seems to be important.

    A decision may be made this Autumn, it may not. But a deciion will be made. At some point.

    Either way, the tournament will go ahead somewhere at some point, but as yet we just don't know.

    Glad that clears all that up.

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  • 43. At 1:30pm on 09 Jul 2008, MontyPanesar wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 44. At 4:28pm on 09 Jul 2008, Dobell50 wrote:

    4,500 kms of motorway - physically impossible - very probably - for 5 million euros i.e. 1,111euros a kilometre - financially impossible - very, very definitely. If EUFA cannot regonise this then the future of European football will be rather gloomy

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  • 45. At 4:42pm on 09 Jul 2008, bigal1983 wrote:

    i'm all for developing nations being given the chance to host a tournament. i am not to keen on co-hosting, especially when average, or even poor teams eg. switzerland, austria both gain automatic qualification at the expense of better teams.

    I read somewhere that scotland are the stand in nation if poland and ukraine fail to meet the standards set by uefa. being scottish i am obviously all for that as we have never had the chance to host a tournament, and we have the required stadiums.

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  • 46. At 4:53pm on 09 Jul 2008, Scotty aka PAFCScotty aka PAFCScotty20 aka PAFC20 wrote:

    totally agree with quickquip

    It's not THE Ukraine. Just plain old fashioned Ukraine.

    Scott
    The Worcester
    The England

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  • 47. At 5:55pm on 09 Jul 2008, stevieo1984 wrote:

    I am unsure as to why Poland and Ukraine were even considered for the 2012 Championships, it proves to further highlight UEFA and FIFA’s positive discrimination in favour of ‘developing’ football nations. Yes, I understand that these nations should get there chance but not to the detriment of developed football nations. The recent Euro’s in Austria and Switzerland were average; you should not have that amount of rain at a major tournament.

    I understand that after 2012 UEFA may be expanding the tournament, which will ultimately rule out bids from smaller European nations. Surely it would have made more sense to award 2012 to Scotland and Ireland; and then once the tournament has been expanded and Poland and Ukraine have had time to prepare properly, then award it to them, as they are clearly large enough countries to cope with an expanded tournament.

    Onto the subject of allocating venues for the World Cup; there is no way on earth that South Africa will be ready, nor is it safe enough to host this prestigious tournament. I do not agree with the way FIFA seem to be passing the World Cup around, it should be awarded as follows: Europe, Americas, Asia OR Africa and then back around again. What next a World Cup in China? I hope not!

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  • 48. At 7:03pm on 09 Jul 2008, helopyrus wrote:

    "I have never travelled on a 3-lane motorway there and often find myself on cobbled or badly maintained roads"

    Cannot agree there. Just try some roads around bielsko-biala and cieszyn.

    I have relatives in Skoczów (near the border city Cieszyn), and the main roads between Cieszyn, Skoczów and Bielsko simply are fantastic! It's all EU-money of course, since their joining of the EU in 2004 they literally dugged deep there! 2, 3 years ago everywhere the earth was digged up, amazing!

    Now the roads are ready and they're a joy to ride on!

    So, it's something going on in Poland, definitively!

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  • 49. At 11:26pm on 09 Jul 2008, Stokerambo wrote:

    I can understand UEFA's decision to hand the tournament to smaller nations such as Austria/Switzerland and Netherlands/Belgium (2000), but why choose Poland/Ukraine? Both countries are very large and represent a significant travel obstacle with poor infrastructure in both countries. Of the two, Poland - as an EU member - will probably fulfill its targets. So why not give it to Poland in the first place. They have enough large and interesting cities (unlike Klagenfurt) to host such an event by themselves. On the other hand a football tournament might be the only excuse to buy a ticket to Dnipropetrovsk.

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  • 50. At 01:14am on 10 Jul 2008, Myron wrote:

    With reference to the question posted by post no. 5 (histon4europe), it is Ukraine, not "the Ukraine". The Ukraine is a post soviet hang over with people still failing to recognise some 20 years on Ukraine as a sovereign country, and still treating it as a province. To say the before the name is to imply it is a province. Thus not only is saying "the Ukraine" grammatically incorrect, it is actually quite offensive, even if the bloody politicians of the country are too busy using the championships as a Kremlin loathed political ping pong ball.

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  • 51. At 07:24am on 10 Jul 2008, dubaispur wrote:

    I believe Ukraine can, and will be ready in time. As a brit with a Ukranian wife i am a regular visitor to Ukraine. Where Poland benefits from EU funding Ukraine does not so is forced to go it alone. To take the Championship away from Ukraine would take away an opportunity that countries like Ukraine urgently need to continue to develop and improve itself. Major changes are going on at the moment in the country and with the politics and i think these coupled with the Euros will help Ukraine to the next level. Ukraine are hosting a World cup qualifier with England in Kiev in September 2009. I think this will run smoothly and give everyone the confidence in Ukraine that is currently lacking. I personally dont see the point in the motorway investments as the local air and train networks are very good although a little dated and i believe they add to the charm and experience of visiting Ukraine.

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  • 52. At 10:39am on 10 Jul 2008, MyfriendMarlon wrote:

    South Africa 2010 will be a major success. Dont be comparing Ukraine to South Africa. South Africa had the staduims ready back in 2002 but decided to built soccer specific staduims as the others were rugby staduims. South Africa has far better roads than the UK,Spain or France. There are 3 low-cost airlines in South Africa, trains,buses, car-hire is all available and of the highest quality. South Africa 2010 is already a major success commercially as major sponsors have already signed up to the tournament. This includes local South African companies that have signed up to tier 1 of the sponsorship grades. We have experience of hosting events like the Rugby and Cricket WC.

    As for the crime, yes we have crime BUT no incidence occured during the Rugby or Cricket WC. Remember this is an international event so police from each nation will have a presence at the WC to help the local authorities with their respective citizens.

    However dont believe me, investigate for yourself on FIFA, GOOGLE EARTH and South Africa.net websites about our infrastracture. Remember South Africa beat the UK in terms of infrastructure when Germany won the rights to host 2006. South Africa will be a major success look it up for yourself.

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  • 53. At 12:42pm on 10 Jul 2008, Ashish Morjaria wrote:

    "....we shall have to see concrete progress on the stadiums" - great pun Mihir!! Well, William Galliard as that's who you're quoting.

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  • 54. At 2:46pm on 10 Jul 2008, JoDan wrote:

    South Africa 2010 is already a major success commercially as major sponsors have already signed up to the tournament.

    Can you tell me why then South Africa is expected to make a loss as a tournament then?

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  • 55. At 3:27pm on 10 Jul 2008, MyfriendMarlon wrote:

    DANINPBORO your question shows your ingorance and bias. All the major companies that were signed on for Germany 2006 have signed on for South Africa 2010. These include KIA, Budweiser etc. South African companies have also signed on to be sponsors like MTN and FNB bank. I'm not pulling facts out of the sky here. Please investigate for yourself.

    Now too your question. Where are your facts? Lets see it.

    Now let me enlighten you. Major tournaments like the Olympics and the World Cup are not there to make a profit. In fact only LA Olympics made a profit in the history of the Olympic games. Why it doesnt make a profit is because of infrastructure costs and cost accrued to making the fans enjoy the tournament. Now tell me genius, from an Accounting point of view would you say infrastructure is an asset or an expense?

    Besides a successful tournament will bring goodwill to the host country in terms of future investment and more tourist.

    I'm sorry to burst your bubble. South Africa will host a successful World Cup because all the evidence is there that South Africa is ready.

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  • 56. At 4:37pm on 10 Jul 2008, JoDan wrote:

    I'm sorry to burst your bubble too. I work in Sports Events and worked on events since 1998 including Olympics, World Cups and World Championships.

    Everyone I know currently working on SA 2010 - experienced professional events people say the same thing. South Africa are behind schedule and having to spend much more to catch up and be on time and will not be ready on time to the top standard required.

    Yes some stadia will be finished and good but not all to the standard. Yesterday - Port Elizabeth stadium was dropped, not be ready in time.

    Look at the quotes from Blatter today - 3 countries are on standby to take over, when has this happened before - it hasn't?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/africa/7499541.stm to see the article.

    Maybe you should look at the facts before you claim to be an expert. I work in the industry and see events daily and this has been one of the worst for planning and delivery ever.

    Add to this the costs are out of control and SA will still be paying for it in 2030 if the costs keep going up. Look at AThens 2004 - they were always going to host the Games but will be paying for it until 2023.

    SA will make a huge loss and will be lucky to hang on to the event.

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  • 57. At 4:41pm on 10 Jul 2008, radiohead wrote:

    UEFA insist on using 8 stadiums for the Euros and not many countries can supply 8 stadiums to be sole hosts. 6 stadiums is more than enough for a 16 team tournament and therefore more countries could be sole hosts. I can remember the days when World Cups and Euros were played in only 4 stadiums and this wasn't a problem.

    Anyone woried about the poor state pitches would get into shouldn't forget that the pitch in Basel was relaid during Euro2008 (babdly I admit) but it can be done.

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  • 58. At 4:49pm on 10 Jul 2008, Kyiv_me wrote:

    I have lived and worked in Ukraine for the last 7 years and I can tell you flat out that there's no way the government of Ukraine (not 'the' Ukraine - thanks, Mihir) is going to get its act together in time to do anything about Euro 2012 preparations. As one friend here opined, the government see the preparations as 'an inconvenient burden' that distracts them from their main line of work: bickering and squabbling over who gets to steal what from which ministry. None of them has a vision for this country let alone a plan of action for preparing the country for the tourney. They're all a pathetic lot and the guy President Viktor (not Vicktor, thanks again, Mihir) Yushchenko put in charge of organizing the event hasn't got the clout or mandate to actually do anything. Take this 'burden' away from Ukraine before anyone else starts to think this country has a functioning government. Poland would be better off teaming with Belarus - at least their president would and could get things done.

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  • 59. At 5:36pm on 10 Jul 2008, MyfriendMarlon wrote:

    DANINPBORO I ask you for facts and you bring me speculation journalism from the BBC. I doubt you in the Sports Events game. Because you have continued to avoid my answers and questions on commercialism. But if you are the professional you claim you are, do you understand the term Risk Management? I dont think you do because if you did, you wouldn't have raised the Plan B topic. Every major event including the Olympics has a Plan B. It's common Project Management sense. As for the Port Elizabeth staduim, you clearly not reading the article properly as the "Local Organising Committee" not FIFA is cancelling that staduim from the Confederation Cup because they will only be finished 4 weeks before the 2009 event. Not before 2010.

    As you are well aware , because you in Sports Events Management, South Africa has promised FIFA that all construction on staduims will be finished by December 2009, 6 months before the World Cup. Now you tell me how can South Africa not be ready for the World Cup. You dont believe me look at Google Earth and you will see the current level of the staduims.

    Now there is another reason why I dont believe you in Sports Events Management because you raised the issue of costs. Everybody knows that construction costs will never remain in budget (did Wembley?) because of commodity costs like steel and concrete that are unpredictable. Anybody in the construction industry will tell you that.

    Pull the other leg ....jou slim ding.

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  • 60. At 5:50pm on 10 Jul 2008, MyfriendMarlon wrote:

    DANINPBORO you do know how to use GOOGLE EARTH dont you? Its easy, if you want I can explain it to you. Have a look at the staduimsin construction. Remember South Africa is building soccer specific staduims and already have huge Rugby staduims which it can call on if the unlikely event that the soccer staduims are not complete. Remember what I said, South Africa has promised FIFA that all staduims will be ready 6 months before the WC. But just in case you still sceptical.

    South Africa's Rugby Staduims already built:

    Cape Town 65000 capacity
    Durban 65000 capacity
    Bloemfontein 60000 capacity
    Pretoria 65000 capacity
    Mpumalanga 65000 capacity


    Added to this South Africa has about 30 other smaller cities which have staduims ranging from 30 000 to 50 000 capacity which will be used as training staduims for the qualified staduims. Remember that South Africa has world-class infrastructure in terms of roads,hotels, telecommunications.

    Come an enjoy yourself. Its going to be a blast.

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  • 61. At 5:55pm on 10 Jul 2008, JoDan wrote:

    So I give you answers and you don't like the answers. Please believe all you will but you are obviously not intelligent enough to understand how events work.

    No event has a back up country - when did Athens or Germany have another country on standby? When Blatter or the IOC was asked they never would accept another venue hosting the events in Athens etc. Yet they are prepared to openly discuss back ups. Hardly an endorsement for a good event.

    All construction costs do rise. However, as I said SA 2010 is behind schedule to the point where costs will be far ahead of expected and cause a huge debt for many years. If you don't understand this - maybe talk to an Accountant as you can't seem to grasp this fact.

    You base your argument on Google Earth - I rely on people in the industry who I've worked with for years in Doha, Athens etc who know whether an event is up to standard or not.

    Perhaps you can let me have the facts which disprove the stories in the media as you apparently know all about SA 2010. Or perhaps you are just very good at not seeing the facts and wish to continue to dream about what you claim to know.

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  • 62. At 6:00pm on 10 Jul 2008, JoDan wrote:

    The fact stadiums are built is irrelevant. Just because a stadium is built for rugby does not mean it is ready for football.

    Stadia which are used to hosting Super 14 or the Currie Cup are nowhere near the quality required for a major World Championships.

    For example, security, seating, ticketing, accreditation, Spectator Services, Media and all areas of the stadia have to be changed on a huge overhaul. This takes 1 year as a minimum and a lot of money. It's not an over night job -if you ever worked on events you'd see this.

    Yes it's good to have 5 finished stadia but you need more than that for a World Cup and you also need those up to standard to deliver a good event.

    Go visit one of these stadiums now and then go see it in 18 months time and you will see what I am talking about and will realise the job you have to host this event.

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  • 63. At 6:25pm on 10 Jul 2008, MyfriendMarlon wrote:

    So now you saying that South Africa's staduims will be ready? The staduims I've mentioned are rugby staduims that are ready for use as training staduims. Are you saying that South African dont know how to pull off a major event? You keep talking about the standard of the stadiums and the requirements. Does FIFA not have technical specialised on the ground to assist the Local Organising Commitee? It obvious they do. 2 of the staduims in construction were designed by a German firms. Do you think the Germans know what they are doing? South Africa has about 5 major construction firms that are rated highly in the world. Who do you think is building Dubai. Which European country besides the UK,Germany and France can boast that number of huge construction firms. South Africa is rated the 21 biggest economy in the world dont take us for granted.

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  • 64. At 6:37pm on 10 Jul 2008, MyfriendMarlon wrote:

    The fact stadiums are built is irrelevant. Just because a stadium is built for rugby does not mean it is ready for football.

    I find this comment so funny. You pulling at straws mate. You want to tell that to Wigan FC fans? Now you saying that the stadia will be ready but we not organised to get the flyers out in time. You refuse to look at Google Earth which will give you proof of the stadia status. No you believe these Phantom friends of yours.

    You hopeless mate. I've given you the proof that can be backed up by actual images and reports from FIFA's website.

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  • 65. At 6:46pm on 10 Jul 2008, MyfriendMarlon wrote:

    DANINPBORO there is no way you in Sports Events Management. Possible though, you could be the water boy.

    I've given you simple Project Management Methodologies which you cannot comprehend. Wikipedia is a good site for copy and paste mate. Why you so worried about construction cost and when it will be paid. Did Germany,America,Spain,Mexico or Brazil worry about the cost? If England get the WC in 2018 do you think they going to worry about the cost to host a World Cup.
    Did South Africa worry about the cost to host the rugby and cricket WC? Why should we worry about football costs now.

    If you are a really football supporter you would know its an honour mate, its an honour to host the Game of Billions on your home soil.

    You have clearly lost this debate. Nobody believes your rubbish, South African will host a successful World Cup. Please dont come an entire it with the rest of the world. Stay at home.

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  • 66. At 6:48pm on 10 Jul 2008, JoDan wrote:

    Do Fifa have technical staff on the ground. No - they conduct visits every 3-6 months as required and the last visit was rated a failing as the construction was behind schedule. The LOC employ specialists to advise, however, the LOC decided they knew best and not to listen.

    I said if South Africa wanted to convert rugby stadiums to football it's a huge undertaking to take a year. Training stadiums are fine but you need football stadiums of top quality.

    As for being 21st in the leading economies, I'd not brag about this. Your country will be about 45th after the costs of the World Cup, which will cost the country an awful lot.

    As for construction, who is building Dubai? Well when I was there last month it was mainly firms from Canada, UK, Australia, Germany and a couple from South Africa.

    Nobody is doubting the quality of the construction companies. However, poor planning, poor internal communications and an unwillingness to allow outside help have led to delays and problems.

    You can have the best construction companies but you can;t build a 3 year project in 18 months no matter how much you try and have it to the required standard.

    I would love to see South Africa host the cup. i was there in 2003 and 1995 and love the place and the event. However, the reality is the event will not be the success it should have been if they do get it and I still think that is doubtful

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  • 67. At 6:53pm on 10 Jul 2008, JoDan wrote:

    Wigan FC? You're the hopeless one. Hosting club games is not the same as international - can you not read what I write or do you choose to ignore because you know you're wrong.

    The stadium takes a year to go from club to International standard - the JJB stadium for Wigan would be the same.

    Unless a stadium is built to be at international standard from day 1 it takes a year to be ready.

    As for Google Earth, this is lovely, all this shows is stadiums, not the inner workings etc. It also does not show how far behind all the construction is is hardly fact.

    Why do you also not answer the questions - why do they want a back up etc yet no event in history ever has done?

    Maybe you just need to stop being blinded by the fact you cannot admit your country is not perfect and may lose the event.

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  • 68. At 6:57pm on 10 Jul 2008, paulorso wrote:

    I've been to ukraine a few times and last month went from poland across the e40 to central ukraine. this is the main motorway through europe into poland and ukraine. in western ukraine it is getting a hugh amount of work done, and especially around lviv, and unlike our beloved m1 expansion it actually has more than a couple of guys working on it at any single time.
    couldnt comment on the stadiums but worries about hotels are nonsense as well. there are loads of new hotels in every city but they are not cheap, on the other hand food and drink are excellent and very cheap.

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  • 69. At 7:14pm on 10 Jul 2008, MyfriendMarlon wrote:

    DANINPBORO FIFA has a permanant post in Johannesburg to make sure that everything is going to plan. The 3-6 month inspection you are refering to is the bosses coming from Zurich for press photos. You have moved the debate from not being ready with the stadia too the technical requirements of the stadia. Why did FIFA technical team for the WC 2006 rate South Africa's staduim and infrastructure better than England? That was a fact not something I pulled out of the air. As for your rugby stadia taking 1 year to be prepared for FIFA quality staduims, thats just crazy. I went to Germany in 2006 and I can assure you the rugby staduims are of better quality than some of the German staduims on offer. You haven't addressed the issue of 2 of the stadia being designed by a German company that designed the Allianz staduim. I suppose they incompatent as well.

    England is hosting the Olympics in 2012 and is already over-budget. Is England going to give the Olympics back?

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  • 70. At 7:19pm on 10 Jul 2008, JoDan wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 71. At 7:22pm on 10 Jul 2008, MyfriendMarlon wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 72. At 7:24pm on 10 Jul 2008, JoDan wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 73. At 7:33pm on 10 Jul 2008, JoDan wrote:

    Well Marlon claearly we will both have to agree to disagree as the moderators will not allow me to post much anymore.

    See you in Germany for the rescheduled cup in 2010.

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  • 74. At 7:39pm on 10 Jul 2008, MyfriendMarlon wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 75. At 8:07pm on 10 Jul 2008, JoDan wrote:

    Well I look forward to Germany. Although Ukraine lacks resources I feel it will be okay.

    In hindsight perhaps UEFA and FIFA can learn that although countries should be assisted to develop they should walk before they run.

    Perhaps in future they will get a few matches not all and then can slowly develop the required infrastructure to in time host larger events.

    This would enable countries which clearly struggle like Ukraine and South Africa to develop over time and get a taste for Football events before long term doing it themselves.

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  • 76. At 9:19pm on 10 Jul 2008, anatianblogger wrote:

    I have to say that regardless of stadium quality or promises to build roads, the whole idea of co hosted UEFA tournaments is not something I support. Poland and Ukraine are only fringe teams in UEFA and it is very unlikely that both would qualify, if indeed either of them. So we end up with 2 pretty dull non achievers yet again qualifying at the expense of far better and more exciting teams. Come on, Switzerland and Austria hardly set the world alight did they, nor did boring Belgium in 2004. Let's get back to one country hosting the competition. Good quality stadia should be there anyway to allow teams entry to the Champions league. UEFA are demanding massive expenditure from countries that can't afford it. Half of Poland's income comes from British building sites, and as for the Ukraine, it might be better for them to invest in coal miner's safety rather than football competitions. Sorry, No offence intended!

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  • 77. At 00:23am on 11 Jul 2008, stevedixon66 wrote:

    The debate regarding Ukranian stadia might be better viewed from the viewpoint of the travelling fan, as opposed to that of the armchair viewer. As MancMan stated earlier, for those of us who actually travel to major tournaments to support our country (when we qualify!), Ukraine is likely to throw up several logistical difficulties, both in terms of actually getting to games and also in terms of finding the cash. It is an enormous country and getting from one city to another is likely to be both difficult and expensive.
    When I travel abroad to watch England, I don't want - as I read earlier - an adventure. I want to be able to travel on reasonably efficient transport to cities that can cope with the influx of visitors; just like Portugal in 04 and Germany in 06.
    Awarding major tournaments to nations without the correct infrastructure in terms of stadia, transport and hotels might seem like a good idea, but if you're having to pay your own fares and accomodation, it becomes a great deal less appealing. Sadly, this does mean that some countries would be excluded from hosting the tournament and that is a shame, but as I do not expect to be on Michel Platini's private jet any time soon, I would personally far prefer a championships in Spain, Italy, Germany, France, England, Portugal or Sweden.
    Rather like the debate on South Africa 2010, the 2012 tournament should be less to do with spreading the football message, and more about the safety, security and a fair deal for those of us who are planning to go through the rigmarole of following our national team.

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  • 78. At 11:30am on 11 Jul 2008, JoDan wrote:

    I do agree with you stevedixon66. I think logistics is often ignored by events and that's why 1 country should host an event, not 2.

    Fifa and UEfa often seem to forget fans are on a budget and don't have bottomless pockets to go everywhere.

    If you look at the stadia currently being built in the world there will soon be an elite list and a second tier list of countries who have stadia ready to host events at anytime.

    Spain, USA, Germany, Holland, Dubai, Singapore, Australia, France and Italy are all ahead in this race. The UK has to get more top stadia, and have them planned so will soon be in the elite group.

    As for Ukraine, I think this will turn out to be their first and only chance in hosting such a major event.

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