Preparations for Euro 2012 are right on schedule, tournament co-hosts Poland and Ukraine said on Thursday.
“Taking full responsibility, we can say that everything is going according to UEFA’s plans, and that the matches will take place in eight cities, four in Poland and four in Ukraine,” Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said during a visit by his Ukrainian opposite number Mykola Azarov.
“We can congratulate each other, with a clear conscience,” he told reporters.
The two leaders said that they had approved a road map for the remaining preparations for the European football championships, which are set to kick off in Poland’s brand new national stadium in Warsaw in June 8, 2012
In April 2007, European football’s governing body UEFA caught the pundits napping when it picked Poland and Ukraine over favourites Italy and joint bidders Hungary and Croatia to host the 16-team quadrennial showcase.
It will be the first time either has run a major tournament and marks UEFA’s first serious foray behind the former Iron Curtain.
That means a far greater challenge on the infrastructure front than previous, western European editions of the tournament, last held in 2008 in Alpine-efficient Austria and Switzerland.
Amid concerns about the ability of the hosts, particularly Ukraine, to make the grade in time, UEFA chief Michel Platini cranked up the pressure and issued a string of ultimatums.
But the tone has now changed.
“I think things are progressing in the right direction,” Martin Kallen, UEFA’s Euro watchdog, told AFP last month.
“The decision was made in 2007 to go for Ukraine and Poland, and since then, UEFA has been pushing very hard,” he said. “But this will be a fantastic tournament.”