PARIS, Feb 28: UEFA president Michel Platini admitted Thursday he has been forced to tell the joint hosts of the 2012 European Championships to speed up their preparations for the event.
Ukraine and Poland will bring together Europe’s 16 best footballing nations when they co-host the continent’s footballing showpiece. Neither country has hosted a major championship before.
After a reminder over the lack of perceived progress at the end of January, Platini said Thursday that European football’s ruling body is still concerned.
“We’ve had to wake them up a little and tell them it’s time to get going,” Platini told French radio France Info on Thursday. “The 2012 Euro will still be held (there), but we’ve told them in the nicest possible way to speed things up a bit.”
Platini warned last month that the co-hosts faced a crucial period after concerns mounted over the state of preparations for the event.
“I have the distinct feeling that the next four to six months will be crucial in order to avoid any critical slippage in infrastructure projects and to protect the credibility of the Euro project,” Platini said in a statement on January 30.
Political instability in the two nations now seems to be over with newly-established governments taking power but there were fears that the launch of investment-intensive projects such as stadiums, airports and motorways has suffered from the instability.
On February 6, Poland’s prime minister Donald Tusk announced the release from the budget of 100 million euros for the construction of three new stadiums.
Polish sports minister Miroslaw Drzewiecki said the country was preparing to send logistical information to UEFA, including lists of hotels and sports venues able to host the 16 national delegations.
“There is still a slight delay (vis-a-vis initial previsions) but we will be ready in time,” said Drzewiecki. —AFP