Poland and Ukraine to host Euro 2012
Poland and Ukraine today won the race to host the European Championships in 2012 after beating off bids from Italy and Croatia-Hungary.
UEFA overlooked favourites Italy, whose bid was overshadowed by last season's referee corruption scandal and their on-going problems with football-related crowd trouble.
The decision was taken by 12 members of UEFA's executive committee meeting in Cardiff.
Poland and Ukraine had staged an impressive presentation yesterday with Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko, Liverpool keeper Jerzy Dudek, world heavyweight boxing champions Vitali Klitschko, former pole vault Olympic champion Sergei Bubka and Ukraine president Victor Yushchenko all making appearances.
The victory for Poland and Ukraine signifies the first step in new UEFA president Michel Platini's plan to spread the benefits of football throughout Europe and not just the big nations.
It is even more surprising as there has been a match-fixing scandal in Poland, whose government was also warned by FIFA and UEFA about political interference in the Polish FA.
Four Ukrainian cities and six Polish venues have been lined up as host cities for 2012.
The four Ukrainian venues are Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Kiev and Lviv while Gdansk, Krakow, Poznan, Warsaw, Wroclaw, Chorzow have been earmarked for games in Poland.
Poland and Ukraine won in the first round of voting with eight of the 12 votes while four went to Italy and none to Croatia and Hungary, according to UEFA sources.
Italy's sports minister Giovanna Melandri insisted their bid had been strong.
She said: 'This was a choice made because of football politics in UEFA to give a chance to some countries who have recently joined the European Community.'
Polish FA president Michal Listkiewicz said: 'Finally one of the big football events is coming to the countries which have had no opportunities to improve their football.
'Finally, we have this opportunity and I would like to thank everyone who trusted and supported us.'
UEFA president Michel Platini said: 'Today Poland/Ukraine has been chosen by the UEFA executive committee to host Euro 2012 and they are surely a worthy winner. However there are no losers today, rather only bids that have not won this time round.
'I cannot speak highly enough of the effort that has been made, and the passion for football we have seen in all three bids.'
GDANSK: Baltic Arena, to be built between 2008-2010. Planned capacity: 44,000.
POZNAN: Municipal Stadium. Built in 1980; home to Lech Poznan. Under renovation. Current capacity: 24,166. Planned capacity in 2008: 46,500.
WARSAW: National Stadium; to be built between 2007 and 2009. Planned capacity: 70,000.
WROCLAW: Olympic Stadium. Built in 1936, now under renovation. Current capacity: 10,000. Planned capacity in 2010: 45,000.
CHORZOW: Slaski Stadium. Built in 1927, now under renovation. Current capacity: 47,202. Planned capacity in 2010: 60,000.
KRAKOW: Wisla Stadium. Built in 1954; home to Wisla Krakow. Now under renovation. Current capacity: 14,657. Planned capacity in 2010: 33,000.
KIEV: Olympic Stadium. Built in 1923 and later expanded, it holds 84,000 and is the proposed site for the 2012 final. Proposed reconstruction and upgrading would reduce capacity to 75,000. Used for soccer at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. FIFA and UEFA have threatened to withdraw permission to hold matches here over construction of a nearby shopping complex.
DNIPROPETROVSK: Stadium with 35,000 seats to be completed in September.
DONETSK: Ultra-modern stadium with 50,000 seats - home to Shakhtar Donetsk - to be completed at the end of 2008.
LVIV: Ukraina stadium, built in the 1970s and later renovated, currently holds 40,000. Plans call for construction of a new stadium or reconstruction of the present facility.
ODESSA: Chornomorets stadium, dating from the 1960s, holds 35,000. Plans call for complete reconstruction.
KHARKIV: Metallist stadium, also from the 1960s, has a capacity of 30,000. The facility is to undergo renovation.
POLAND: Third place at 1974 and 1982 World Cups. Olympic gold medallists in 1972; silver medallists in 1976 and 1992.
UKRAINE: Dynamo Kiev won European Cup Winners' Cup in 1975 and 1986. Three players who have played for Dynamo been named European Footballer of the Year - Oleg Blokhin 1975, Igor Belanov 1986, Andriy Shevchenko 2004. Qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 2006, reaching the quarter-final where they lost to Italy.