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Zenit sign Bart Simpson

The Toe Poke 12 hours ago
Read
May 13, 2009

Venue for England Ukraine WCQ unfit say UEFA

The city England may be forced to play their World Cup qualifier against Ukraine in next October has been deemed not good enough to remain on the standby list for Euro 2012.

UEFA have decided only the Ukrainian capital Kiev currently meets the infrastructure criteria required to host a major tournament and even that is a qualified thumbs-up given it has refused to confirm that is where the Euro 2012 final will be played as planned.

However, the Football Association were already aware England would not be playing in Kiev later this year as the stadium is under construction.

An actual venue has yet to be decided but it was claimed Ukraine wanted the match to take place in Dnipropetrovsk.

Knowing the numbers likely to follow England in their penultimate match of the World Cup qualifying campaign that has so far been a roaring success under Fabio Capello, the FA are bound to be alarmed at UEFA's damning verdict.

"UEFA considers that due to the current shortcomings with regard to the stadiums, airport infrastructure, regional transport and accommodation, this venue will not meet the tournament requirements,'' said a UEFA statement.

The observations are bound to be greeted with concern at Soho Square if Dnipropetrovsk is confirmed as the venue for the game on October 10.

Over 2,000 England supporters would normally be expected to make such a trip, with the FA having no input into the final decision.

Given UEFA have given Ukraine a deadline of November 30 to prove Donetsk, Lviv and Kharkiv are capable of hosting the tournament, it may lead the FA to believe they may end up in a much-improved stadium.

However, Ukraine officials have been left in little doubt there is a lot of work ahead if they are stand any chance of playing a major role in a tournament they are supposed to be co-hosting with Poland.

"We have seen progress over the last few months but we must remind both countries that there is still a huge amount of work to be undertaken,'' said UEFA president Michel Platini.

"There are numerous infrastructure issues that urgently need to be resolved in Ukraine to convince the UEFA Executive Committee that the host city candidates can be appointed as UEFA EURO 2012 host cities.

"We must respect the decision of the Executive Committee of 18 April 2007, when it awarded the organisation of the European Football Championship 2012 to Poland and Ukraine.

"This was again emphasised by the UEFA Congress in March 2009, when it stressed the importance that the staging of this world-class event will have to further promote and develop football in the eastern part of Europe.''

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