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UEFA has emphasised its commitment and support in helping Poland and Ukraine prepare for a successful UEFA EURO 2012™ tournament.
The main item on the agenda for the UEFA Executive Committee's meeting in Zagreb, Croatia was the presentation an update report on the preparations for UEFA EURO 2012™, awarded to Poland and Ukraine last spring. Prepared by various UEFA experts with tournament experience and the relevant parties within the two national associations themselves, it highlighted the work that that has been undertaken to date in both countries in order to host the tournament in five summers' time.
"By choosing Poland and the Ukraine, UEFA took a momentous decision that gave a strong message to central and eastern Europe," said UEFA on Wednesday. "It is clear that there has been a certain degree of political instability in both countries in 2007. However, this instability now seems to be over with newly established governments in each country, but there can be no doubt that the launch of investment-intensive projects, such as stadiums, airports and motorways has suffered from the instability."
UEFA President Michel Platini said: "I have the distinct feeling that the next four to six months will be crucial in order to avoid any critical slippage in sports and public infrastructure projects and to protect the global credibility of the EURO project itself.
"There is a need for creating a true government mobilisation by making the national authorities aware of the crucial need to set up a governance and management structure to lead all the projects related to UEFA EURO 2012™," Mr Platini added. "UEFA is totally committed to do everything possible, in the next few months, to assist and support the two associations, at both the advisory and administrative level and political level in order to guarantee the success of the project."
"It's fair to say the political situations in both countries - in the latter half of 2007, both had changes of government – has made it a little bit more difficult than we anticipated additionally to make significant progress with the preparations," said UEFA General Secretary David Taylor. "There has been progress, but it needs to be accelerated.
"Over the next six months, we need to see major steps forward in terms of the organisation of [UEFA] EURO 2012™, and there will be close monitoring by UEFA of the situation in that period of time," he added. "It's too late to wait until after [UEFA] EURO 2008™, given the requirements we have for stadiums and other infrastructure that must be put in place before 2012. The structures we need to put in place have been identified; we need actions now to make sure the preparations are on track.
"The need is to see a true government mobilisation regarding the significant structure deficits which are still there," Mr Taylor continued. "The two main areas are stadiums and the wider infrastructure needs – airports, accommodation, railways, transport – the basic infrastructure which is able to be influenced principally by government funding.
Joint action plan
"We are concerned not because there are not good intentions, but the timescales are very short. We have agreed a joint action plan with the two associations setting out the steps that we need to take over the next five to six months to put us into a position where we feel we will be on track for the delivery of the tournament. We are certainly not in the position of discussing or approaching alternatives. Our full focus is on assisting the countries concerned. We are determined to do everything we can to help these countries stage an event which is up to the standards we expect."
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