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Apr 24, 2007

Croatia/Hungary seek refund for 2012 bid

ZAGREB, April 24 (Reuters) - Croatia and Hungary will this week demand compensation from UEFA to cover the costs of their failed bid to host Euro 2012, the Croatian FA said on Tuesday.

'We have indicated that we will file a compensation request for the costs of our candidacy. We will send the request in the next two days,' Croatian FA President Vlatko Markovic told Tuesday's edition of the best-selling Vecernji List daily.

Croatia's FA secretary-general Zorislav Srebric confirmed to Reuters that a compensation request would be filed this week, but did not go into details.

Local media reported that as much as two million euros ($2.71 million), which is roughly the sum Hungary and Croatia invested in the bid, could be sought.

The 2012 European Championship was last week awarded to Poland and Ukraine instead of Italy or the joint Croatia-Hungary bid, which many observers saw as a major surprise.

Markovic said he held a meeting with UEFA President Michel Platini on Monday and expressed his disappointment with the outcome of the bid.

COMPENSATION FAIR

'I told him that our lobbying had been fair and that we had invested a lot of money in it. He knows as well that UEFA commissions indicated preference for Italy and our bid with Hungary,' Markovic said in Tuesday's Jutarnji List newspaper.

'Money is important but what matters more is our reputation,' Markovic said.

He added that compensation would be fair as the money spent could have been directed to other important soccer projects.

Markovic and the FA were criticised by local media and the government for building up local expectations ahead of last Wednesday's UEFA decision in the Welsh city of Cardiff where not a single vote was cast for Croatia and Hungary.

Markovic also said Platini had proposed that Croatia host a UEFA congress in January 2008.

UEFA spokesman William Gaillard said European soccer's governing body could not respond to the reports from Croatia as it had not been formally notified by the national association.

'It is clear though that the decision (to award the tournament to Poland and Ukraine) was a political act taken under secret vote by a political body - the Executive Committee - which is itself politically elected,' Gaillard added.

'There would be no point having such a vote if it was just a matter for the technical commission to decide. It is decided by the supreme executive body just as is the case with the FIFA World Cup or the Olympic Games.

'This is the process and everybody knows about it.'

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