Will Euro 2012 take place in Poland and Ukraine?
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.