Ukraine demands explanation over Polish Euro 2012 outburst

16:35, 31 October 2008
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An official request was made on Friday

Ukraine made an official request on Friday for an explanation of a statement made by Poland`s soccer chief suggesting that Germany could replace the former Soviet republic as joint-host of Euro 2012, RIA Novosti reported.

"I am formally asking for an official explanation from my colleague, the Polish minister of sport," said the Ukrainian minister for family, youth and sport issues, Yuriy Pavlenko.

Ukraine and Poland are due to co-host the 2012 European Championships. However, Ukraine has suffered a number of setbacks in its preparations, with UEFA earlier criticizing the country for its lack of progress in building and reconstructing stadiums.

"If Ukraine loses the right to organize Euro 2012, this will not be very bad news for Poland," said Grzegorz Lato on the TVN24 TV station.

"We could organize the tournament with Germany," added Lato, the 58-year-old former soccer star who was elected head of Polish soccer`s governing body on Thursday.

A number of his colleagues have criticized his statement, with one of them calling it, "a grave political error."

Lato has since retracted his statement.

Work to develop infrastructure in Ukraine also remains a concern as the largest country located entirely in Europe suffers one political crisis after another.

A Ukrainian spokesman said on Thursday that the former Soviet republic had been badly-hit by the global financial crisis, which had caused 80% of Euro-2012 building projects to grind to a halt.

Poland has itself suffered problems in the build up to Euro 2012, with UEFA threatening to take the tournament away from the country in early October after what it called government interference in the running of the sport.

That problem was resolved, but even Michal Listkiewicz, Poland`s previous soccer chief, earlier expressed his doubts that his country would be ready for Euro 2012.

"If the European Championships took place in 2016, we would have no problem being ready by then," Listkiewicz told Germany`s Die Zeit Online.

German soccer authorities dismissed in July speculation that Germany, which hosted the 2006 World Cup, could take over from either Ukraine or Poland for Euro 2012.

RIA Novosti

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