Poland's minister of sport and tourism Adam Giersz felt his nation's UEFA EURO 2012 preparations were going well as he addressed a press conference on the eve of a series of events marking 500 days until the finals kick off next summer.
Representatives of the Polish government, the host cities, the Polish Football Federation (PZPN) and the local organising committee gathered at the Warsaw Marriott Hotel on Monday to hear Giersz give his positive verdict on progress to date.
"We are on the right track in UEFA EURO 2012 preparations," said Giersz. "All the key projects are under way on time. That is thanks to good cooperation between the Polish government, the host cities, the PZPN and UEFA.
I am convinced that we will finish all the major projects before the tournament gets under way. Many of them involve international relationships, which is why we agreed a road map with Ukraine."
The construction works on Poland's stadiums for the finals are already well under way; Poznan's Municipal Stadium was officially opened in September 2010, with the Municipal Arena in Gdansk set to be ready for Poland's friendly game against France on 9 June. Works on Wroclaw's Municipal Stadium and the National Stadium Warsaw should be completed over the coming 12 months.
"It's been eight years since we started our bidding process for UEFA EURO 2012," said PZPN president Grzegorz Lato. "Now we need to build a strong national team, because it's crucial for all Polish people.
I hope that the strong opponents chosen for this year's friendlies will boost the development of our national team."
Polish tournament director Adam Olkowicz added: "In footballing terms, we are in the last quarter of the second half. We need to sign around 9,000 agreements and contracts to ensure the smooth running of the tournament. We have already booked around 15,000 hotel rooms, because that is what we need for VIPs, the UEFA family and other UEFA staff."
Transport considerations are also being addressed, with work on airport facilities in each of the four Polish cities having been undertaken, while new civic transport plans have been devised and roads are being built. "UEFA EURO 2012 boosted investments in many host cities," stressed Wroclaw's mayor Rafał Dutkiewicz. "For eight years I pushed for the reconstruction of our railway station, but without success. Now we will have a new one in 2012, while other key projects will be finished in 2011."
Earlier in the day, Poland's prime minister Donald Tusk staged a press briefing at the soon-to-be-completed Gdansk Municipal Arena, and said: "We are satisfied that 500 days to go before the tournament we have managed to reach all our major goals. The stadiums show that Polish people have a strong will in this challenging time."
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