UEFA to discuss Euro hosts Poland and Ukraine
European soccer`s governing body UEFA is expected to stand by its decision to appoint Poland and Ukraine as hosts of Euro 2012 on Friday despite a lack of progress in preparations to stage the tournament, according to Reuters.UEFA`s executive committee is also due to endorse an expansion of the European Championship finals to 24 teams from 16 at its two-day meeting starting on Thursday in Bordeaux, despite criticism that it could dilute the quality of the event.
A long-awaited progress report on the ability of Poland and Ukraine to host the finals in four years` time is expected to criticise the two nations but stop short of recommending that UEFA withdraw their right to host the tournament.
"The report will be critical. But it is still too early for the committee to make a decision to take Euro 2012 away from the two countries," one UEFA official familiar with preparations for the meeting said.
UEFA president Michel Platini has visited Poland and Ukraine twice this year and warned officials they risked losing the right to stage the event if stadiums and infrastructure were not ready.
"But the report will also show some progress, maybe not enough but some since Michel`s last visit in July," the official said.
Thursday`s report is based on a visit by UEFA inspectors to the two countries last month.
Poland and Ukraine were awarded the 2012 tournament last year, beating off competition from Italy and a joint bid by Hungary and Croatia.
Both countries have struggled to tackle the colossal tasks of upgrading stadiums and modernising airports, rail and road networks and hotels.
Poland is suffering from labour shortages in the construction sector, while Kiev is struggling to renovate the 84,000-seat Olympic stadium which is due to stage the final.
Expansion of the European Championship finals to 24 teams is expected to be agreed from 2016 after senior officials of all 53 UEFA member nations backed the idea in June.
"The expansion will happen," the UEFA official said. "This will give teams a better chance to qualify, the fans more matches and we are confident the quality will only increase."