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Poland voice doubts as Euro 2012 decision looms

SoccerNews in Bundesliga, European Championships 24 Sep 2008


Michal Listkiewicz, president of the Polish Football Association (PZPN), admits in the German press on Wednesday he has concerns whether his country will be ready to co-host Euro 2012.

On Thursday and Friday, European football's governing body UEFA will meet in Bordeaux to debate whether the Ukraine and Poland can still co-host the 2012 European Championship. A decision is expected on Friday.

But Listkiewicz seems far from convinced his country will be ready in four years time.

“If the European Championships took place in 2016, we would have no problem to be ready then,” Listkiewicz told Hamburg newspaper Die Zeit Online.

“But realistically we are looked at having no good roads in time for 2012.”

And he threw doubt over whether their Euro 2012 partners the Ukraine will be up to the job.

“If things don't go well now, and UEFA has another suggestion, then that would be in order,” he said.

UEFA have insisted the transport systems in both Poland and the Ukraine are improved with high-quality roads between the different venues, while security arrangements and the stadiums used must also be of a high standard.

“The biggest problem is the traffic,” says Listkiewicz.

“From Gdansk (in Poland) to Donetsk (in the Ukraine) is more than 1500 kilometers!

“This is not like in Austria and Switzerland where everything lies close together.”

Listkiewicz, and his Football Federation of Ukraine counterpart Hryhoriy Surkis, supported Michel Platini's successful bid to be UEFA president in January 2007.

Three months later, Euro 2012 was awarded to Poland and the Ukraine.

Upon hearing the announcement in Cardiff, Listkiewicz embraced Poland's sports minister Tomasz Lipiec.

But Lipiec was later arrested for corruption and Listkiewicz does not now seem so pleased with the huge task facing his country to be ready in time.

When Platini visited Poland and Ukraine earlier this year he was unhappy at the lack of progress and warned officials they could lose the right to host Euro 2012 if considerable improvements were not made.

Security is a problem in Poland where police arrested 741 supporters three weeks ago after the Warsaw derby match between bitter rivals Polonia and Legia when a street battle broke out in the city's old town district.

The PZPN are also fighting a major corruption scandal involving dozens of coaches, referees and officials.

And Listkiewicz admits there are problems with the stadium construction in Gdansk, where local amateur gardeners are claiming compensation for losing their allotments to build the 44,000-capacity Baltic Arena.


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