In April 2007, Ukraine and Poland were named co-hosts for Euro 2012 tournament. This joint bid, taking into account Ukraine’s tough economic condition and administration problems, has become a headache for UEFA President Michel Platini. The matches will be staged at eight venues, divided between the co-host countries. Ukraine is behind the schedule, having problems with modernization of airports, roads, and rail networks. As a co-host country, Poland seems to be doing better than Ukraine. Yet, it also has lots of problems. Platini made it clear that without modern stadiums in capital cities, Warsaw and Kiev, neither Poland nor Ukraine would host Euro-2012.
Platini persuades Europe that football will develop in the East to an unimagined level after Euro-2012. It is true that football is very popular in Poland and in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Football teams have rich sponsors and good training centers. Their football stars for leading football clubs, like Andrei Shevchenko, a world-class star of the Ukrainian origin. Warsaw’s preparation for Euro-2012 is in full swing. The National Stadium in Warsaw is being constructed. Although the winter was not favorable for construction, much had been done to construct the stadium’s diaphragm. The UEFA delegation visited Vrozlaw to assess the capacities of its airport and hotel accommodation. The new air terminal’s capacity will be seven million passengers yearly. A Polish-Greek consortium will build a stadium in Vroclaw with a stand for 42000 spectators. The Olympic stadium in Kiev is being reconstructed as well. Ukraine started to build a stadium in Lwow. Ukrainian authorities promise to finish the construction on time.
The final list of city-hosts will have been prepared by the middle of May 2009. Each country hopes to host at least four venues. For example, besides Ukraine’s capital Kiev it may be Donetsk whose construction sites are sponsored by local oligarchs, owners of the local sports club “Shakhtar”. It may be Lwow that borders on Poland and has historical places under UNESCO protection.
Poland and Ukraine were a surprise choice for Euro-2012, and Ukraine, in particular, still is. Football fans expect a lot from Euro-2012. There may be inconveniences, like unsatisfactory infrastructure in Ukraine. Poland could organize Euro-2012 alone. Ukraine as a co-host is a political decision that is more symbolic than pragmatic.