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Poland - Ukraine to host EURO 2008


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Platini leaves his mark, a great day for eastern european football.

Poland and Ukraine have won the race to host the European Championship in 2012 after beating off bids from Italy and Croatia/Hungary.

UEFA overlooked favourites Italy, whose bid was overshadowed by last season's referee corruption scandal and their on-going problems with football-related crowd trouble.

The decision was taken by 12 members of UEFA's executive committee meeting in Cardiff.

Poland and Ukraine had staged an impressive presentation with Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko, Liverpool 'keeper Jerzy Dudek, former world heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, former pole vault Olympic champion Sergei Bubka and Ukraine president Victor Yushchenko all making appearances.

The victory for Poland and Ukraine signifies the first step in new UEFA president Michel Platini's plan to spread the benefits of football throughout Europe and not just the big nations.

It is even more surprising as there has been a match-fixing scandal in Poland, whose government was also warned by FIFA and UEFA about political interference in the Polish FA.

Four Ukrainian cities and six Polish venues have been lined up as host cities for 2012.

The four Ukrainian venues are Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Kiev and Lviv while Gdansk, Krakow, Poznan, Warsaw, Wroclaw, Chorzow have been earmarked for games in Poland.

Poland and Ukraine won in the first round of voting with eight of the 12 votes while four went to Italy and none to Croatia and Hungary, according to UEFA sources.

Bubka, now a member of the International Olympic Committee, said: "I'm very proud and happy and it will have a huge positive impact on the countries.

"There will not be a problem with the stadia, work on some new ones are already under way - one will be ready later this year and another next year.

"Everything will be done in time and the governments have promised the funding will be made available. This will accelerate the development of infrastructure in our countries."

Poland's Dutch head coach Leo Beenhakker said the decision was hugely important for the game in the winning countries.

Beenhakker said: "Eastern Europe has a great history in sport and in football and they still have great players but what they have been missing has been good infrastructure, stadiums and training facilities.

"Now the governments and the football federations are obliged to realise all their promises within the next five years and make these improvements.

"This is fundamental for football in Poland and Ukraine."


Platini said: "Poland/Ukraine has been chosen by the UEFA executive committee to host Euro 2012 and they are surely a worthy winner.

"However there are no losers, rather only bids that have not won this time around.

"I cannot speak highly enough of the effort that has been made, and the passion for football we have seen in all three bids."

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