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UEFA dismisses reports of EURO 2012 doubts
Journal Staff Report

KIEV, June 25 - UEFA on Monday dismissed media reports that the European soccer body doubts Ukraine's capability to co-host UEFA EURO 2012 with Poland based upon doubts about the redevelopment of the Olympiyskiy National Sports Complex in downtown Kiev.

"UEFA would like to clarify the facts," UEFA said in a statement posted on its Website. "Media reports suggesting that UEFA has cast doubt, in any way, on the country's ability to host the UEFA EURO 2012 final round, due to the rebuilding plans for the stadium, are well wide of the mark. It has been alleged that UEFA was overly-concerned at the plans for the stadium at a recent meeting held in Nyon, Switzerland with the two appointed host countries, Poland and Ukraine.

The UEFA Executive Committee awarded the 2012 tournament to Poland and Ukraine at its meeting in Cardiff, Wales in April. Poland and Ukraine in a joint bid defeated favorite Italy. This will be the first time for the former Eastern bloc to host the continental championship since Yugoslavia in 1976.

Like the World Cup, the European Championship is held every four years and gives host countries the opportunity to build new stadiums, improve infrastructure and boost tourism. The tournament may be worth as much as $3 billion to the hosts, President Viktor Yushchenko said earlier this year.

"UEFA would like to point out that the purpose of the meeting was to have a global review of the situation in all crucial operational areas with the host associations, and to identify common steps to allow the project to start. UEFA is not unduly concerned over the detailed issues surrounding the stadiums for UEFA EURO 2012, and the meeting did not focus on any of these areas in particular. Finally, UEFA would like to point out that it is currently concentrating all its efforts on the final organisational plans for UEFA EURO 2008, which are in full swing."

Poland and Ukraine, which have never qualified to play in the event, are now guaranteed places among the 16 finalists.

The opening match will be played in Warsaw, which will also stage a quarterfinal along with Gdansk in Poland and Donetsk and Kiev in Ukraine. The semifinals will take place in Warsaw and Donetsk and the final in Kiev. In all, 12 stadiums will be used. (nr/ez)

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