Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ukraine considers housing Euro 2012 fans in army bases

Ukraine's government is considering putting up Euro 2012 fans in unused army bases, as the country still lacks sufficient hotels and is unlikely to build more in time, the Itar-Tass news agency reported Wednesday. The UEFA in April 2007 named Ukraine and Poland co-hosts of Euro 2012. Officials from Ukraine's Euro 2012 organizing committee put forth the idea during meetings in the east Ukrainian city Donetsk, one of the football championship's eight planned game venues. Ukraine is set to offer four game sites, but preparation in the former Soviet republic has fallen behind schedule due to bureaucratic infighting, and financing difficulties. Ukraine's particularly short supply of hotels could be covered by unused military housing, the officials said. The fans-in-army-bases proposal is on the latest in a series of suggestions floated by Ukrainian footballing officials to deal quickly with problems getting ready to host Euro 2012.
Soviet-era river cruise boats, some unused for decades, could be refurbished and tied up at wharves in the cities Kiev, Dnipropetrovsk, and Donetsk to offer sleeping cabins and restaurant service to visitors, according to government plans still under consideration. Weak areas noted by UEFA inspectors in Ukraine include a nationwide hotel room shortage, an outdated road and rail network, weak traditions of customer service, and airports practically unusable to foreign visitors. Ukraine according to UEFA officials is doing best at preparing stadiums, with one state-of-the-art game site opened on Sunday in Donetsk, and work proceeding with full financing in Kharkiv and Kiev. Ukraine's parliament last month overrode a Presidential veto to approved funding for Ukraine's fourth stadium, to be built from the ground up in Lviv. Ukraine could lose rights to host some or even all scheduled Euro 2012 matches, if its preparation effort is not accelerated, UEFA head Michel Platini warned in July. A UEFA board is scheduled to make its next formal review of Ukraine's Euro 2012 preparation effort in December.

The Earth Times