The bizarre alternate scenario of Germany stepping-in and co-hosting Euro 2012 with Poland can finally be laid to rest. UEFA’s Executive Committee has been meeting this week (more below on their other deliberations), and came to the following conclusion on Ukraine’s readiness to host the tournament:
After careful consideration of the documents and guarantees submitted to UEFA by the Ukrainian Government and the cities of Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kyiv and Lviv during the last couple of months, the infrastructure report prepared by the UEFA administration and after consultation with the host associations, the UEFA Executive Committee took the following decisions concerning the selection of host cities for UEFA EURO 2012™:
• to confirm Kyiv as the venue of the final match of UEFA EURO 2012™ – as for the 2016 final, it will be hosted in Paris, France.
• to confirm Donetsk and Lviv, and to appoint Kharkiv as host cities for group matches of UEFA EURO 2012™
UEFA did not give Ukraine an entirely clean bill of health; mitigating their criticism by noting the poor economic climate, they still emphasised Ukraine had “work to do” and that “UEFA will continue to closely monitor the state of infrastructure and operational preparations.”
Ukraine has been under pressure for some time from UEFA to speed-up preparations, but you can finally start planning your trip there for the final now.
UEFA has also been meeting on several other crucial topics, including:
- Financial Control Panel: as part of Platini’s efforts to institute a tighter watch on the wild financial ways of European football, the Financial Control Panel has been strengthened. The panel’s role is to support UEFA’s controversial proposed “Financial Fair Play” strategy announced earlier this year, the key proposal of which (that had the Premier League titans up in arms) was an “obligation for clubs whose turnover is over a certain threshold, over a period of time, to balance their books, or “break even”, (i.e. clubs cannot repeatedly spend more than the generated revenues)”. A progress report on implementing the Financial Fair Play strategy was presented, still in the draft stage.
- Match-fixing: Unsurprisingly given all the recent press about UEFA and police investigations into match-fixing across Europe, Michel Platini said UEFA was ready for the challenge and praised the UEFA Betting Fraud Detection System, which monitors 29,000 games across Europe in all 53 member associations. No new action was announced; the work of the current system was rightly praised, but it might have been good for UEFA to have considered creating a requirement that all member associations have their own integrity units, as Declan Hill (who has consulted with UEFA in the past on how to tackle match-fixing) has suggested.