Ukrainian authorities, fighting off criticism of their handling of preparations for the Euro 2012 soccer championship, said on Thursday they had chosen a German firm to renovate Kyiv`s Olympic stadium, due to stage the final, according to Reuters.
Sports Minister Yuri Pavlenko announced the decision while opening the Ukrainian headquarters at the Beijing Olympics. The project had been a stumbling block in assessing how Ukraine, due to co-host Euro 2012 with Poland, was proceeding with preparations.
Pavlenko said the contract had been awarded to GMP von Gerkan, Marg und Partner. A Taiwanese contractor was originally chosen but officials later ceased all contacts with it, saying the company was not in a position to do the job.
"The ministry has no doubts that architectural decisions by this prominent European company, as well as procedures to oversee renovations...will be viewed positively by UEFA experts," Pavlenko`s ministry said in a statement issued in Kyiv.
"It hereby offers assurances that the reconstruction work will be completed within the UEFA deadlines."
Renovation of the 84,000-seat facility is to be done in three phases, with all construction work completed by 2010.
Officials at the Hamburg-based firm, which also renovated Berlin`s Olympic stadium, offered no comment pending an official announcement that it had won the contract. Prominent British firm Foster and Partners had also been in the running.
UEFA President Michel Platini has criticised delays in organising the event in two visits to Kiev this year and a UEFA meeting in France next month will assess whether the two ex-communist countries are in a position to hold the event.
UEFA officials have denied any contingency plan exists to move the tournament if Ukraine fails to meet requirements.
Ukraine and Poland were awarded the tournament last year, beating a bid from Italy and a joint submission from Hungary and Croatia.
Both countries must tackle the colossal tasks of upgrading stadiums and modernising airports, rail and road networks and hotels.