Final decision on Euro 2012 due in September
UEFA president Michel Platini said Saturday that a final decision on whether Poland and Ukraine will host the 2012 European Championship will come in September.
Amid fears that the capitals of Warsaw and Kiev might be unable to provide adequate stadiums, European soccer's governing body has instructed the co-hosts to speed up work on building stadiums and improving roads and transport infrastructure. A 12-man delegation will visit the two nations next week for an update.
Platini said UEFA is still backing Poland and Ukraine to stage the tournament, but if there are no guarantees that Warsaw and Kiev will have completed the stadiums in time, it could be moved.
"We have already sent lots of experts in the past few months to Ukraine and Poland, and September at Bordeaux we will take a final decision," Platini said Saturday, one day before the Euro 2008 final between Germany and Spain.
"This will answer all the questions that you have. At the last meeting of [the executive committee] in Zagreb, we asked the two countries to wake up and we gave them four months to show us progress. In September, we will examine the situation again."
Platini said a decision whether the number of teams will be increased from 16 to 24 after Euro 2012 also will be made at the Sept. 23 meeting.
"Decisions will be taken … about 24 teams or not and other decisions regarding the next Euros," he said. "I think that this will give me more of a headache than having too much to drink."
Poland and Ukraine were surprisingly awarded the championships ahead of Italy and a co-hosted bid by Croatia and Hungary in April last year. Warsaw is set to stage the opening game in a new national stadium, but work has not yet started. Kiev will hold the final in its redeveloped Olympic stadium, but similar construction delays have led to repeated speculation UEFA has plans for a backup host, possibly Italy, Germany or Scotland.
"I repeat: The executive committee of UEFA awarded the 2012 Euros to Poland and Ukraine and we will do everything that we can and more to see that it's held in Poland and Ukraine," Platini said.
"There is no backup plan. We have had no second thoughts and we respect our decision to go to Poland and Ukraine. The only thing that would make us decide not to go to Poland and Ukraine would be if there were no stadiums in the two capitals, Warsaw and Kiev. … If no stadiums, no tournament."
Platini blamed stories of a backup plan on the Ukrainian media.
"There are no rumours coming from UEFA," Platini said. "It's the Ukrainians who have said they will not be ready and that causes rumours.
"People in [Ukraine] are perhaps talking a bit too much and should be a bit more restrained. We are taking a decision in September. … It's a decision of our [executive committee] and we will respect that decision unless there's a disaster."