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Dec 5, 2011

England hit back over base reports

England have criticised as a ''scare story'' reports that the team's training base in Poland for Euro 2012 is dilapidated and not fit for purpose.

England will be using the ground of fourth division Hutnik Nowa Huta as their base in Poland for at least three games - against France, Ukraine and Sweden.

Club England managing director Adrian Bevington admits the facilities are not up to standard but insisted they will be ready for when the players arrive before the tournament.

The Sun has reported the ground in Krakow is ''barely fit for a pub team'' and describes the dressing room and medical facilities as ''a shambles''. Pictures show rubble-strewn dressing room and showers.

"It's quite offensive to have to pick the newspapers up for what is just a scaremongering story," Bevington told the BBC. "At this stage in time there is a bit of work that needs to be done, as there often is when we choose our base camp. But come this June we are very confident that the facilities we have and particularly the pitch, which is most important, will be absolutely first class.

"In reality the team very rarely uses any of the facilities at the stadium apart from the pitch. What we are doing, as we have done in Germany and South Africa [in the World Cups in 2006 and 2010], is to work very closely with some pitch specialists to ensure the quality of the pitch when we finally arrive is of the highest standard.

"Unfortunately this is the sort of story that we have to deal with around this time of year every time we qualify for a tournament."

While England are adamant the ground will be up the high standards they demand, it adds to concern over Capello's choice to be based in Poland.

England's group games will all be in Ukraine with matches against France and Ukraine in Donetsk as well as a trip to Kiev to play Sweden with their journeys totalling 5,000 miles.

Should they reach the latter stages of the tournament they would face two more trips to Donetsk for the quarter and semi-finals. Yet Capello, who chose a city centre location in Krakow after what Bevington described as a 14-month search which ended with the Italian adamant his side would prepare better in Poland, refused to entertain any thought of a change following last Friday's draw.

''Absolutely not,'' he said. ''I am happy with Krakow. When we played in Ukraine, we arrived the day before. That was a long trip from London.

''When we played Montenegro we did the same. I prefer to play in Krakow because the facilities are really good. The players will be happy with the hotel and the training.''

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