Ukraine to Join Poland in Hosting Euro 2012
The 2012 UEFA European Football Championships is to be hosted jointly by Poland and Ukraine in the summer of 2012. This will be the 14th UEFA-sanctioned European Championship, which sees qualifying national football teams battling it out on the playing fields in a series of elimination matches until the final deciding match.
Commonly referred to as “Euro” followed by the applicable year, in this case “Euro 2012”, the UEFA European Football Championship is held every four years on the even-numbered year between World Cup Tournaments. Euro 2008 was hosted jointly by Austria and Switzerland, followed by the 2010 FIFA World Cup to be hosted by South Africa.
Countries that want to be considered as the host nation for this prestigious event must submit a bid to UEFA’s Executive Committee. On 18 April 2007, in Cardiff, Wales, the committee revealed that the Poland/Ukraine joint-bid had been successful, defeating the Croatia/Hungary joint-bid and the bid from Italy which had been on the shortlist. This is the third time that a joint-bid has been successful, the other two being Belgium/Netherlands for Euro 2000, and Austria/Switzerland for Euro 2008.
Accepting the Poland/Ukraine bid to host the event is seen as a shift of focus towards Central and Eastern European countries and nations which have demonstrated that there is a strong football following, despite being less developed with regard to football structure and quality of local leagues in relation to Western Europe. All but three of the host cities are popular tourist destinations with tourist-oriented facilities. Nonetheless, some have expressed concern with regard to whether the host cities can accommodate large numbers of visitors for extended periods of time. Authorities from Poland and Ukraine are confident that the plans for expansion and modernization of roads and highways, as well as the building of the new stadiums and upgrading of existing facilities are well under way and will be completed according to deadlines set by UEFA.
Host cities in Poland include Chorzow, Warsaw, Poznan, Wroclaw, Gdansk and Krakow. Ukraine’s host cities are Kiev, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Lviv, Odessa and Dnipropetrovsk. Football fans that travel to these cities should plan their journey to allow some time to enjoy the history, culture and natural beauty of the Euro 2012 host countries.