Will Euro 2012 take place in Poland and Ukraine?

October 14, 2008

As the dust settles on a turbulent few weeks for Polish soccer, a wider question is being asked in the game’s corridors of power. Did UEFA make a mistake in awarding Euro 2012 to Poland and Ukraine?

Despite both countries receiving explicit warnings from European soccer’s governing body, they are still well behind in their preparations, so much so that UEFA may have to rethink the number of stadia to be used.

To add insult to injury, just three days after Poland and Ukraine received a final reprieve by UEFA in Bordeaux, Warsaw’s government sacked their FA much to the anger of UEFA and world governing body FIFA.

FIFA, whose statutes do not allow government interference, threatened to suspend Poland from all competitions and UEFA threatened to strip them of the right to host EURO 2012.

A last minute deal was reached by last Monday’s deadline, but UEFA is not totally convinced.

“The trust has been broken and a lot of work has to be done before we can trust them again,” a senior UEFA official told Reuters after the deal was reached.

UEFA officials were left wondering why the government failed to pick up the phone ahead of the crunch executive meeting in Bordeaux to inform soccer’s authorities of their intentions and seek their help.

Some sceptics have gone as far as to suggest that Warsaw thought UEFA would pull the plug in Bordeaux, but when they were given yet another chance — this time with very strict and costly conditions — they may have panicked amid the current financial downturn.

Maybe they cannot deliver, but why would they think this was a way out without being blamed?

No matter what the reasons, the events of last week have certainly fuelled concern over Poland’s ability to stage the event in four years time.

 Ukraine’s current political instability also heaps further pressure on the co-hosts.


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Please let it be moved to Saint Tropez

Posted by Patrick | Report as abusive

I think the decision to award Euro-2012 to Ukraine and Poland was more political than practical one. Ukraine was not ready to host Euro-2012, and, unfortunately, is not able to change a situation for better. The state of Ukrainian economy (and also corruption and lack of legal reforms) frightens potential investors. Political problems – actually we may say political crisis) ruin all the prospects to build new stadiums, hotels and needed infrastructure. Now we are facing early parliamentary election in January. In 2009 the presidential electoral race will start. With all current political battles Ukraine will simply not have time and money to get ready to Euro-2012. It is very sad, but it’s a fact.

Posted by Tetyana Vysotska | Report as abusive

If UEFA take it away from them then where is the hope for other nations struggling to host big events, ie South Africa for 2010 and Britain for the 2012 Olympics 😉

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

I think if Ukraine and Poland are not ready, then Fifa/Uefa have the right to take it away from them and give it to some country that is already ready to take on that responsability. They had plenty of time to coordinate and structure everything in time for the event. If they are failing to do so, the proper procusions should take place.

Posted by Kenny | Report as abusive

what is actually wrong with Poland and Ukraine? What is the UEFA schedule and for what? Does anybody know?

Posted by niko | Report as abusive

Or Uefa is as corrupt as the two countries that are hosting in 2012. These countries are run by gangsters. The football organizations are run by gangsters. The refs are also run by gangsters. Ukraine is especially trying to hold itself together against Russian pressure, organized crime, and a crumbling political institution. Probably not the best choice to hold the matches there.

Posted by Travis Turner | Report as abusive

@ Niko,

Strictly speaking there is nothing wrong with Poland or Ukraine. The objections are often lobbed from the losers side who were not picked to host the 2012 tournament, for example Italy. Ironically, Italy has its own share of corruption problems, so it’s strange that the criticism is levied against Polish and Ukrainian football federation leagues.

Having said that, both countries and associations have their share of problems. To my understanding the corruption in Poland’s Ekstraklasa is even higher than in Ukraine; on the other hand Ukraine faces tougher challenges in updating and building its infrastructure for the tournament.

My only caution here is not to buy-in to the alarmist reports, and to seek out balanced, comprehensive information about the tournament and what the host countries are doing to prepare for it.

A good place to start is the official website: http://www1.e2012.org/en/Home.html

I also follow the developments around Euro2012 at my blog. Here is one entry about UEFA’s admonishment of Poland and Ukraine: http://the8thcircle.com/2008/09/19/uefa- admonishes-but-euro-2012-still-with-pola nd-and-ukraine/

Posted by Vitaliy | Report as abusive

I suggest that before people make comments on whether they think that Poland and Ukraine are not ready they take a look at the facts. Ukraine has just had an opening ceremony on one of the new Stadiums and another one is about finished. Poland has currently all stadiums except one under construction. There is 4 years left till 2012 and stadium construction takes 2 years. Poland is following or exceeding the schedule that was approoved by UFA when they actually go these games.

Posted by V | Report as abusive

I don’t think that there is nothing wrong with Poland, I mean they had some arguments but that’s all. They can afford to build all the hotels, stadiums, restaurants, etc… in time. On the other hand I’m not sure if Ukraine is up to it. You may think that Poland and Ukraine are dirty, full of gangster, etc.. that’s only if you live in rural areas. Do you really think that Poles will host Euro in a poor neighborhood??? They’re not that stupid, you know. I’ve been in Poland before and in fact it is a beautiful country. Check out some pictures on google or Poland’s traveling agencies. Please do not talk bullshi…. about Poland if you’ve never been there.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

It’s curious how UEFA, and FIFA even more so, go crazy about ”government interference” and yet seem to have very little (at best) to say about corruption problems in the Polish FA. They remind me of the banking lobby, which gets all up in arms about government intervention, despite having been totally incapable of applying self-regulation properly. The basic message seems to be let corruption alone, don’t interfere. Whatever one’s view about the politics of this Polish government, and its predecessor, they at least tried to do something to clean up the game. Maybe Warsaw didn’t let on that the crackdown was coming because it feared UEFA and FIFA would tip off their mates….And why does an anti-corruption operation cast doubts on Poland’s ability to host Euro 2012 in any case?

Posted by Jonas | Report as abusive

I think you have absolutely got it in one there, Jonas

Posted by Mark Meadows | Report as abusive

@ Jonas, well said. More evidence to this is that UEFA only recently created a six-man anticorruption to deal with illegal betting and league corruption.

Posted by Vitaliy | Report as abusive

Jonas is right. UEFA’s policy of no government interference was probably designed to stop exactly the opposite – corrupt or autocartic governments taking over soccer bodies but it turned out the other way round in practice. In Serbia, for instance, the government quite simply had to step in to clean up the country’s FA that was rotten from top to bottom.

Posted by Red Devil | Report as abusive

Indeed. And the footballing powers that be were strangely, ahem, quiet when the Russian government put the boot into that country’s FA. Conclusion: nothing like having muscle if you want to escape criticism. Plus the Poles are over a barrel on this, because they can’t afford to get into a (legitimate)fight with FIFA and UEFA at this crucial stage.

Posted by Jonas | Report as abusive

Learned a lot from this, thank you. http://www.soccershop.com

Posted by karen | Report as abusive

[…] 2012 will not take place in Poland-Ukraine because of non-compliance, and that was my reaction to this.  But, then I read about the problems with the stadium construction in Lviv, Ukraine (in […]

Posted by Ukraine: when politics, economics and sports converge « The 8th Circle | Report as abusive

Latest news about preparation in Poland and Ukraine for Euro-2012.
http://euro-2012news.com/euro-2012-dnepr opetrovsk-has-run-out-of-money/

Posted by sergey | Report as abusive

All the updates on euro 2012 at http://www.euro2024.co.uk

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive