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Poland and Ukraine wait on Uefa report

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Mihir Bose | 15:30 UK time, Thursday, 25 September 2008

Not very good at all, far too much still to be done, there must be tighter checks on progress... but nevertheless you can still hold Euro 2012.

That is the message that is likely to emerge from the Uefa executive committee on Friday as it considers whether Poland and Ukraine will be ready in four years' time.

The corridors of Regent Hotel in Bordeaux, where its members are meeting, may be buzzing with all sorts of talk and rumour but nobody expects the executive to just pull the plug on the first joint east-European hosting of this tournament

The executive is considering a 40-page report written by several experts on various aspects such as stadia, infrastructure etc.

Dnipropetrovsk Stadium opening ceremony

Poland and Ukraine are already aware of the report, having been presented with it when they came to a meeting at Uefa headquarters in Nyon.

The report is understood to be very critical of the preparations and details the deadlines that have been missed.

But despite this, and the fact that the Poles have publicly admitted they are more likely to be ready for 2016 rather than 2012, there is I am told no appetite on the executive to say "that's it" and move the tournament to Spain, which had been the talk in Vienna at the end of Euro 2008.

Although Michel Platini in some interviews has been quoted as saying this may happen I am told his words have been mis-translated and in the original French he is not quite as sceptical as he sounds in English.

The executive is likely to insist on tighter deadlines and greater monitoring of progress over the next four years.

But the overall message is likely to be that although Portugal in 2004 and Switzerland-Austria in 2008 had problems they delivered on time.

Interestingly, of the two countries it is Poland that Uefa's experts seem more impressed with.

The Poles seem to have a more western-style of management, staffed by young people who know how such tournaments are organised.

Ukraine is rather longer on promises, which some Uefa experts feel is utopian. The president promised Uefa 5bn Euros in constructing more than 4,500km of roads, all of this in four years when countries such as France and England took several decades to build their motorways.

Also the political stability in Ukraine causes great concern and its relationship with Russia is another great imponderable.

But with a Ukrainian on the Uefa executive - although he will leave the room when the report is discussed - there is little chance of his fellow executive members saying no to Ukraine.

In any case, Uefa would struggle to decouple Poland and Ukraine given that this is a joint bid and there is faith Poland can deliver.

Also, as expected, Euro 2016 will be expanded to 24 teams despite the fact that the bigger countries such as England, Italy and Germany have doubts about how they will attract crowds to additional fixtures which may be meaningless, or even get much more television revenue for them.

But this is what the great majority of Uefa's member countries want and for all the success of the 16-team format, come 2016 it will be 24.


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