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17 August 2017
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Poland, Ukraine want Euro 2012 as sign of eastern integration

The championships have never been staged in the East of Europe

Poland and Ukraine aim to jointly host the 2012 European football championships not for national pride alone, but to establish integration of eastern Europe`s football, according to EarthTimes. "UEFA has said explicitly that it wants to develop football in the east (of Europe), so our joint bid with Poland is the best choice in this sense," said one football official in Kyiv.

The championships have never been staged in the East of the continent, the closest being the 1976 edition in then Yugoslavia.

Football has a proud tradition in both countries. Poland came third at the World Cup in 1974 and 1978 while Andriy Shevchenko`s Ukraine is now the top team in the region.

However, there are problems on and off the pitch.

Hooliganism overshadows the game in Poland. A corruption scandal in the game and government interference in the national federation has also not gone down well with international football officials.

In Ukraine, the political power struggle between the nation`s president Viktor Yushchenko and prime minister Viktor Yanukovich is overshadowing the bid.

"The political situation in Ukraine is definitely not a plus for our joint bid," said Polish football legend Zbigniew Boniek.

But there are other areas, which could be far more important for the UEFA executive board in its decision-making process - most notably infrastructure.

UEFA inspectors have reportedly complained about road conditions, but Polish sports minister Tomasz Lipiec said last Thursday that the tournament offers a chance to improve this situation.

"This is a chance for development of airports, roads, hotels and stadiums in Poland," he said.

The Polish and Ukrainian ministries of transport and regional development also plan an expansion of the highway linking Ukraine and Poland with western Europe at a cost of 1.3 billion euros (1.76 billion dollars).

The championships have never been staged in the East of the continent, the closest being the 1976 edition in then Yugoslavia.

Both countries have a massive popular support to get the event with matches to be played in the Polish cities of Warsaw, Chorzow, Gdansk, Krakow, Poznan and Wroclaw and the Ukraine cities of Kiev, Dnepropetrovsk, Donetsk and Lviv.

"We are creating a huge marketing value with a population of more than 80 million," Polish bid committee general director Michal Nykowski said.

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