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By ESPN Staff

Ukraine/Poland Euro 2012 bid to be taken seriously

KIEV, Sept 20 (Reuters) - The joint bid by Ukraine and Poland to stage the 2012 European championship has many elements in its favour and is worthy of serious consideration, a UEFA official was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

Giorgio Marchetti, a member of the UEFA delegation that toured four Ukrainian cities last week, told the daily Kommanda that inspectors found 'many positive elements' during their visit.

'You must understand that the demands for staging Euro 2012 will be more stringent than they were for the world championship which just took place. So no one should be surprised that we asked so many questions,' he told the newspaper.

'This, first of all, shows that we are taking the Ukraine-Poland bid seriously... Ukraine and Poland combine desire, enthusiasm and a willingness to turn words into action.

'There are undoubtedly problems, but also an understanding of how to resolve them. Ukraine and Poland could well get the chance to stage the tournament.'

The bid is up against Italy and a similar joint proposal from Croatia and Hungary.

Marchetti said he was impressed by backing for the bid from Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, who told the inspectors last week that Ukraine would be ready to stage the championship if selected in December.

Officials in both countries discount any suggestion the bid might be hit by an inquiry by the Polish government into the country's football association over allegations of match-fixing.

The bid has also been hampered by a row over a construction site by Kiev's main stadium which has prompted warnings from FIFA that it could withdraw permission to hold matches there because of violation of safety norms.