Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU) president Grigoriy Surkis does not hesitate to describe UEFA EURO 2012 as a "historical milestone" as he looks forward to the eastern European country's first taste of hosting a major sporting event.
Ukraine will stage matches in four cities – Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kyiv and Lviv – when it co-hosts the EURO with Poland and Surkis is confident the tournament will serve to bring his country closer to the rest of Europe. He told uefa.com: "I can honestly say that our country has never before hosted such a grand event. This tournament is the third biggest event of its kind in the world. I believe it will open new doors for us and pave a way towards closer cooperation with the European Union, a way to integrate into the European community.
"This tournament will open new possibilities for our children, for the lives of all Ukrainian people, who will be able to enjoy the better infrastructure long after the tournament has finished," continued the FFU president. "These four cities can offer a new infrastructure – reconstructed, modernised – and also demonstrate the hospitality of the Ukrainian people. Ukraine can show itself as a European country where guests are welcome and where they would like to return. The chosen cities play a large role in the current history of the independent Ukraine. They are also great historical and cultural centres, which have had a lot of influence on the spirit of Ukraine since its early days."
The start of UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying in September 2010 will bring the tournament another step closer and Surkis is determined that the Ukrainians "consolidate our efforts even more at this point in order not to disappoint UEFA". He praised the contribution of his countrymen in providing "materials, technical resources, financial and human resources" during a period of "financial crisis" around the world.
Surkis added: "We need to work together as one team, work together with UEFA, with Poland to make this tournament a success. On 14 December  when Michel Platini presented the logo of the tournament to the whole world in Kyiv's historic Mykhailivska Square, this was the beginning of a new stage leading to the actual start of the tournament. I would like to note the great support of the Ukrainian government, and the professionalism of UEFA, who are constantly monitoring the progress so that we can be ready in time and host this tournament in the best possible way.
"I would like to conclude with the same words that I have started with. The possibility to participate in such a big tournament will provide our country with the opportunity to create better living standards for our people – close to European standards. This is a very important consequence of hosting the tournament. Also the Final will be held at [Kyiv's] newly constructed Olympic Stadium and will be a fitting conclusion to the tournament. I am happy we can make this happen with UEFA's help."
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