Polish leader accepts criticism of Euro 2012 preparations
Nothing is lost yet, he said
Poland Prime Minister Donald Tusk accepted Thursday that his country needs to do more to ensure that Poland’s preparations for the Euro 2012 tournament remain on track, according to the Budapest Business Journal.
The admission comes after UEFA boss Michel Platini on Wednesday called on the governments of co-hosts Poland and Ukraine to mobilize after a period of instability in an effort to avoid any critical slippage in sports and public infrastructure projects.
“Yes, it’s true that we have had to deal with delays that went on for months,” Tusk told journalists in Warsaw. “But nothing is lost yet.” Tusk said the government intends putting forward a timetable but opposition MP Elzbieta Jakubiak of the Polish Law and Justice Party (PiS) said the government had no coherent organizational concept in place.
Host cities were still waiting on cabinet decisions regarding the co-financing of strategic investments, she said, while PL 2012, the company that is supposed to coordinate preparations for Euro 2012, has yet to be set up. Jakubiak also criticized the absence of an agreement with co-host Ukraine. But Sports Minister Miroslaw Drzewiecki dismissed the claims, saying UEFA’s criticism referred to the time period between April and November 2007, when the previous administration was responsible for giving projects the go-ahead. “Nothing was done, absolutely nothing,” Drzewiecki told Thursday’s Dziennik newspaper.
Poland and Ukraine surprisingly beat of bids from Italy and Croatia/Hungary last April to win the right to host Euro 2012.
England will not offer to step in and rescue the European Championship finals in 2012 if UEFA abandon plans to stage the tournament in Ukraine and Poland reported telegraph.co.uk. yesterday. Just nine months after their historic decision to award the tournament to the eastern European countries, UEFA yesterday issued organizers with a six-month deadline, warning them that if they did not speed up their preparations alternative hosts would be found. The threat followed an independent report on the alarming lack of progress in the two countries. It was prepared by the former director general of the France 98 World Cup, Jacques Lambert, and presented to members of the UEFA executive committee here yesterday. The report concluded that, since the decision in Cardiff last April, no real progress had been made on building stadiums, renovating existing venues or updating crumbling transport, accommodation and health infrastructure.
Although political instability in the countries last year was blamed for the delays, UEFA president Michel Platini made it clear that the credibility of the European Championships was at risk. “I have the distinct feeling that the next four to six months will be crucial in order to avoid any critical slippage,” he said. UEFA CEO David Taylor added: “Timescales are very short. Four years might seem like a long time, but it’s not if you have to have major infrastructure improvements in place by 2012. It’s too late to wait until after Euro 2008.” Taylor stressed yesterday that UEFA would do everything they could to ensure Ukraine and Poland did not suffer the indignity of being stripped of the first major football tournament to be staged in eastern Europe. He said he hoped elections in both countries last year would restore political order and provide impetus. But with so much at stake for European football, alternative hosts are already jostling for position.
Italy, who were convincingly beaten in the contest for 2012, would be certain to step forward again, although they have problems with hooliganism. Croatia and Hungary, who polled no votes in the election last April, may try again, while Spain and France could be seen as safer bets. But, of all the back-up plans, England would perhaps be the most attractive. With Wembley Stadium and at least five Premier League grounds capable of staging European Championship matches, UEFA could afford to leave it until the last minute before switching venues.