Michel Platini: Ukraine's Success is Extraordinary
KYIV, Ukraine, March 21, 2012 The President of the Union of European Football Associations Michel Platini noted the progress Ukraine made in preparations for the European Football Championship EURO 2012. According to Platini, modernization plans have been 95 percent implemented. "Difficult births often lead to beautiful babies," is how Michel Platini referred to the project.
Michel Platini reckoned that the organization of EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine was a complicated and difficult adventure, reports AFP. The upcoming football tournament played a key role in developing the much-needed infrastructure in the host countries. Ukraine has built new airports, hotels and roads, taking its infrastructure 30 years into the future. Such legacy of the UEFA football championship will last, said Platini.
In 2010, Michel Platini urged Ukraine to intensify the preparations for the football championship: "The championship is 2012, not 2030." But in 18 months Ukraine dispelled all concerns. The country introduced four renewed airports, with the last one opening next month. On April 12, 2012, Michel Platini will inaugurate the Danylo Halytskyi International Airport in western Ukrainian Lviv.
Ukrainian authorities also saw to the reconstruction of the country's four stadiums, the opening of hundreds of new hotels, and the introduction of numerous new transportation routes. Ukraine made sure the street signs were available in English. It even amended some of its legislature in order to employ the EU standards.
Railway stations, taxi, and public transport in Ukraine experienced major adjustments to provide smooth service to hundreds of thousands of EURO 2012 tourists. Medical, security and maintenance personnel received special training in tourist management and English. Thousands of guide books were designed and printed specially for the football fans coming to Ukraine in June.
One of the popular concerns of the international community was accommodation in Ukraine. As its tourism industry is only developing, the country may not have as many hotel rooms as major European capitals. Nevertheless, Information centre Ukraine-2012 reported over 60,000 beds available in Ukrainian EURO 2012 cities with only 20 percent of accommodation booked by February.