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The 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as Euro 2012, will be the 14th European Championship for national football team sanctioned by UEFA. Polandmarker and Ukrainemarker will be the host nations of the final tournament, scheduled for mid-2012, following the selection of their joint bid by UEFA's Executive Committee, on 18 April 2007, in Cardiffmarker, Walesmarker. This bid defeated the other shortlisted bids from Italymarker and Croatiamarker/Hungarymarker, becoming the third successful joint-bid for the European Championship, after those of Belgiummarker/Netherlandsmarker, for Euro 2000, and Austriamarker/Switzerlandmarker for Euro 2008. This will be the last European Championship finals in which only 16 nations will participate, with Euro 2016 being the first European Championship finals with 24 competing nations.

Host selection process

Bid history

UEFA 2012 Youth Art Exhibition in support of a joint Poland-Ukraine bid


The organization of the event was initially contested for by five bids representing seven countries: Croatiamarker/Hungarymarker (joint bid), Greecemarker, Italymarker, Polandmarker/Ukrainemarker (joint bid), and Turkeymarker.

On 8 November 2005, UEFA's Executive Committee whittled the candidates down to a short list of three:

On 31 May 2006 all three bids completed the second phase of the process by submitting more detailed dossiers. In September 2006, UEFA conducted site visits to candidate countries. The hosts were chosen on 18 April 2007 in Cardiffmarker, Walesmarker. The results of the voting are:

Voting procedure

The voting would have been made in a maximum of two rounds. For the vote to be valid, there had to be a quorum in the meeting room, i.e. at least eight Committee members, excluding the president and his deputy who did not have the right to vote. In the first round, each member had one vote. As the Poland/Ukraine bid received an absolute majority of 8 votes, it was announced the winner and the second round was not required.

The voting was conducted by the members of the UEFA Executive Committee composed of 14 members:
  1. Michel Platini (France) - President
  2. Şenes Erzik (Turkey) - 1st Vice-President
  3. Geoff Thompson (England) - 2nd Vice-President
  4. Angel María Villar Llona (Spain) - 3rd Vice-President
  5. Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder (Germany) - 4th Vice-President
  6. Marios N. Lefkaritis (Cyprus) - 5th Vice-President
  7. Franco Carraro (Italy)
  8. Vyacheslav Koloskov (Russia)
  9. Gilberto Madaíl (Portugal)
  10. Joseph Mifsud (Malta)
  11. Per Ravn Omdal (Norway)
  12. Mircea Sandu (Romania)
  13. Dr Mathieu Sprengers (Netherlands)
  14. Hryhoriy Surkis (Ukraine)


Surkis and Carraro were not entitled to vote in any of the ballots, as they represent candidate countries. ( UEFA official voting rules) This left 12 votes available for the three competing bids.

Other candidates

Italy

Italymarker had already hosted the European Football Championship finals in 1968 and 1980, and also hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1934 and 1990.

The Italian bid appeared to be the most solid of the three due to Italy's generally excellent transportation infrastructure, the wide availability of lodging for visiting fans, and the Italian football association's past experience in organizing major tournaments. None of the other short-list candidates had ever hosted the finals of a major football tournament independently or as part of a joint bid, with the partial exception of Croatiamarker. Also, the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin demonstrated the Italian ability to host a sporting event comparable to the Euro in magnitude. Italy's current status of World Cup holder was also thought to be a positive factor.

However, the recent scandal in Italy's first division and the football-related violence in Catania, which led to the death of police officer Filippo Raciti and revealed safety deficiencies in many stadia, have damaged the overall standing of Italian football. Yet the Italian government's resolve to assist football authorities in solving the problem – e.g., by introducing anti-hooliganism laws and allocating funds to immediate safety improvement measures in stadia – gave hope that it might partially mitigate the risk to Italy's Euro bid. Another minor risk was potential apathy of domestic fans after repeatedly re-using the same host nation, though 22 years would have elapsed since the last major tournament at home if Italy was selected to host Euro 2012.

The following venues were proposed by the Italian Football Federation:

There were four reserve venues:

Rumours appeared about two of these cities being added later (bringing the stadia to ten, as in 2004), with Bolognamarker and Genoamarker the most probable "nominees".

The cities were basically the same as for Italia 90 - and so were the stadia, with the exceptions of the Neapolitan (San Paolomarker) and Palermitan (La Favorita) venues, replaced by new facilities, and the Turinese Delle Alpimarker, under reconstruction. The remaining sites were to be improved and made safer, in order to reach the four star UEFA stadium rating required to host a game (only the five star Olimpicomarker and San Siromarker and four star San Nicolamarker currently meet the criteria).

Croatia and Hungary

The following cities were proposed by the Hungarian Football Federation and the Croatian Football Federation:

Hungarymarker was bidding for the third time consecutively after failing to win either the Euro 2004 or the Euro 2008 bid. It teamed up with Croatiamarker after its previous partner, Austriamarker, opted to associate with Switzerlandmarker to (successfully) bid to host Euro 2008.

Some elements of a successful bid were already in place, though gaps remained when compared to Italymarker. The two capital cities, Budapestmarker and Zagrebmarker, as well as the popular tourist destinations of Rijekamarker and Splitmarker, already had decent transportation and lodging infrastructure. The favourable economic conditions of the two countries were likely to keep funds available to improve road, rail, or air networks and make the necessary infrastructure improvements in the other host cities. For instance, Croatia had built more than 700 km of new highways and expressways in the last 10 years (including a new highway to the Hungarian border) despite the recent war, and further improvements between all host cities were planned by 2012.

Despite these recent improvements, however, the road and rail networks of the two candidate countries fell short of Italymarker's. In addition, several factors were hampering the bid. The lack of high-quality accommodations in some areas in Hungary and Croatia and the 2006 protests in Hungary and the protest of a group of Hungarian fans during the UEFA delegation's visit to Budapest (claiming that Hungary should focus on improving its own football instead of hosting Euro 2012). Another challenge for the bid was poor league attendance in Hungary and Croatia comparing to other bidders, among all nation Hungary had the lowest average attendance with approximately 2,354, which is almost four times lower than in Ukraine and almost nine times lower than in Italy.

Neither of the two countries had ever hosted similar major tournaments, although Croatiamarker's capital Zagrebmarker did host one semi-final and the third-place match of Euro 1976 when the country was part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslaviamarker.

If the Croatian/Hungarian bid had succeeded, Zagrebmarker's Maksimir Stadiummarker would have hosted the opening ceremony and the opening match – and Budapestmarker's Ferenc Puskás Stadiummarker would have been the venue for the final.

Background

The Polish-Ukrainian hosting is seen as a way of shifting the focus towards regions and nations of central and eastern Europe, whose population demonstrates a strong feeling for football, but are less developed in terms of the quality of the local leagues and football infrastructure, when compared with western Europe. Apart from Chorzówmarker, Dnipropetrovskmarker and Donetskmarker, the host cities are all popular tourist destinations. However, it is unclear if they have sufficient experience in accommodating large numbers of visitors for extended stays, and the existing transportation infrastructure within and between both countries is inadequate to allow a rapid flow of people between the venues. In order to improve this situation, the bid plans the expansion and modernization of roads and highways (e.g., Poland's southwest–southeast A4 highway). The obligatory improvement of the football infrastructure includes the building of the new Donbass Arenamarker in Donetskmarker, which fits the 5-star UEFA criteria, and the completed 31,003-seat Dnipro Stadiummarker in Dnipropetrovskmarker.

Readiness concerns

As of June 2008, there were no plans to hold Euro 2012 outside of Polandmarker and Ukrainemarker, according to UEFA. However, Scotlandmarker has reportedly told UEFA it could step in and host the tournament. In June 2008 Scottish FA chief executive Gordon Smith told BBC Sport: "We have made it clear that we'd like to be considered if it's not going ahead in Ukrainemarker and Polandmarker.... We haven't been told we are on standby or anything like that." Platini has reiterated that "We will do everything possible so Poland and Ukraine can host Euro 2012. The only reason not to go ahead would be the absence of a stadium in Warsaw and Kiev" . August 2009 Platini stated that Poland, unlike Ukraine, was almost prepared to host the tournament, while suggesting UEFA could cut number of Ukrainian cities hosting Euro 2012 he left the option for Poland to organise the tournament alone open.

2008

On 30 January 2008, UEFA president Michel Platini went on the record to warn the organizers of the need to avoid "critical slippages" in their preparations. Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko replied on 11 June 2008 that Ukrainemarker's preparations for Euro 2012 were proceeding normally and that she was confident all projects would be completed on time. However, an official from the Ukrainian football federation stated the next day that Ukrainemarker could lose the right to co-host the event due to delays in the renovation of Kievmarker’s Olympic stadium. UEFA has been monitoring the situation closely and Platini confirmed on 26 June that a decision would be made in September 2008.

In late September 2008, the Polish government suspended the PZPN (the Polish FA) and assigned an administrator. UEFA promptly issued a letter to the Polish FA. Warsaw was warned it risked losing the right to co-host Euro 2012 alongside Ukraine. Scotland has reiterated their interesting in holding the 2012 tournament, should it be stripped from Poland and Ukraine as a result of this situation.

On 31 October 2008, Evhen Chervonenko, the chairman of Ukraine's organizing committee, said that due to the ongoing economic crisis Ukraine is having difficulty building some of the infrastructure needed to host. He said that the major projects such as airports and stadiums are on schedule, but a liquidity crunch has stalled the construction of approximately 80% of the hotels needed to host.

2009

In April 2009, UEFA president Michel Platini visited the host countries to evaluate their preparations. He re-affirmed that Ukraine will remain co-host but hinted that most matches could go to Poland. Following his visit to Poland, Platini announced that Polish preparations were on track and he saw no major problems. According to Platini, six to eight cities will be designated and "not necessarily in equal proportion between Poland and Ukraine."

In May 2009 prior to the UEFA meeting in Bucharest, the Prime Minister of Poland Donald Tusk stated: "We would be ready to host Euro 2012 in not four but in five to six cities if need be, but I think we should stick to the four plus four formula and not undermine our partnership with Ukraine."

On the 13 May 2009 UEFA gave three Ukraine cities, Lvivmarker, Donetskmarker and Kharkivmarker until 30 November 2009 to prove they are capable of staging Euro 2012 games. "There are huge infrastructure problems to be resolved in Ukraine," UEFA president Michel Platini said.

A July 2009 Ukrainian poll by research agency IFAK found that 56% of respondents believed that Ukraine will cope with hosting Euro 2012 and that 32% of respondents believed that their country will fail to stage Euro 2012 properly.

In September 2009 Platini told reporters after an UEFA executive committee meeting "Ukraine has made sudden progress in their efforts to stage the tournament".

Venues

On 13 May 2009, UEFA confirmed the appointment of the Polish cities of Warsawmarker, Poznańmarker, Wrocławmarker and Gdańskmarker. While Krakówmarker had received top marks from UEFA officials, it was not chosen as there was no justification to drop any of the original favorites whose preparations were all going well. It was later revealed that UEFA, dismayed by the state of Ukrainian preparations, had wanted to name six Polish cities, however, president of the Football Federation of Ukraine Hryhoriy Surkis argued that his country should be granted more time: "During my speech in Bucharest, I tried to persuade the UEFA executive committee to maintain the principle of equal proportion because violation of this principle could lead to social apathy in Ukraine." According to Surkis, the approval of the second tranche of the IMF loan to Ukraine will "open horizons and create new momentum." The President of the Polish FA, Grzegorz Lato has also expressed support for the 4 + 4 solution: "Poles and Ukrainians are in favour of an equal solution. We are a team, and this is a team game." Surkis added that the required logistics for a tournament that will take place in two time zones "gives us the impetus to build a new infrastructure and to come close to the European standard". UEFA EURO 2012 will bring new stadiums to Wroclaw, Gdansk and Warsaw in Poland, as well as ensuring the renovation of eight other grounds.

The review of Ukraine revealed shortcomings in infrastructure in all candidate cities. UEFA has decided to confirm Kievmarker as host city for group matches, quarter-final match(es) and a semi-final, however, confirmation of the city hosting the final has been postponed. Kiev risks losing the final to Warsaw unless it meets conditions regarding the stadium, airport infrastructure, regional transport and accommodation by 30 November 2009. If Warsaw is chosen as the host then the match will be played at the National Stadiummarker. If Kiev is chosen then it will be played at its Olympic Stadiummarker. Lvivmarker, Donetskmarker and Kharkivmarker were not appointed but remain candidates. A last deadline of 30 November has been granted to these three cities to meet specific conditions regarding infrastructure. If the criteria are not met by the deadline, then only two Ukrainian cities will organize Euro 2012: Kiev and the best prepared city of the other candidates. In September 2009 a airport building project to meet Euro 2012 requirements was presented in Donetsk.

Infrastructure


Kievmarker Donetskmarker Lvivmarker Kharkivmarker
NSK Olimpiyskyimarker

Capacity: 83,450
Donbass Arenamarker

Capacity: 50,000
Lemberg Stadiummarker

Capacity: 33,400
Metalist Stadiummarker

Capacity: 42,000
Warsawmarker Poznańmarker Wrocławmarker Gdańskmarker
National Stadiummarker

Capacity: 55,000
Municipal Stadiummarker

Capacity: 46,000
Stadium in Maślicemarker

Capacity: 44,000
Baltic Arenamarker

Capacity: 47,000


Former candidates

The following venues were also considered but fell out of the running as a result of the UEFA meeting on May 13, 2009.

City Stadium Capacity Club Host matches
Chorzówmarker Silesian Stadiummarker 55,000 Poland (Górnik Zabrzemarker, GKS Katowicemarker, Ruch Chorzów, Polonia Bytommarker only in important matches) not picked by UEFA
Krakówmarker Wisła Stadiummarker 35,000 Wisła Kraków not picked by UEFA
Odessamarker Chornomorets Stadiummarker 34,362 FC Chornomorets Odessa not picked by UEFA
Dnipropetrovskmarker Dnipro Stadiummarker 31,003 FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk original plans stated it would host 3 group matches


Participation

Euro 2012 is set to feature 16 national teams, as has been the format since 1996. Many European football associations were in favour of expanding the tournament to 24 teams due to the much-increased number of UEFA members in recent years (53 in April 2006 compared to 33 prior to the break up of the Soviet Unionmarker and of Yugoslavia). However, on 17 April 2007, UEFA's Executive Committee formally decided against an expansion in 2012. This will be the last time a European Championship will feature 16 teams, as in September 2008 UEFA announced its plans to expand to 24 teams in Euro 2016.

Qualification

The draw for the UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying round will take place in Warsaw on 7 February 2010. This will be the first time the new UEFA national team coefficient will be used for seeding the teams. The qualifying draw will determine the makeup of six groups of six teams and three groups of five teams. The first-placed teams from each group along with the best runner-up will qualify automatically and the remaining runners-up will take part in a two-match play-off to select the remaining four teams in the final tournament.

Qualified teams

Country Qualified as Date qualification was secured Previous appearances in tournament
00Co-hosts 0018 April 2007 11 (2008)
01Co-hosts 0118 April 2007 01 (debut appearance)


References

  1. Italy Favored to Host European Soccer Tourney in 2012 (Update1)
  2. Poland 'confident' on Euro 2012 chances despite jitters
  3. UEFA could cut number of Ukrainian cities hosting Euro 2012, says Platini, Interfax-Ukraine (August 10, 2009)
  4. Platini warns Poland, Ukraine on Euro 2012 delays
  5. Platini sees sudden progress from Euro co-hosts Ukraine, Reuters (September 15, 2009)
  6. Events by themes: Air-port building project to Euro-2012 is presented in Donetsk. UNIAN
  7. UEFA to consider 24-team EURO [1], [2]
  8. UEFA verdicts from Cardiff


External links




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