Friday, March 2, 2012

The soul of the tournament

Poland and Ukraine filled the remaining places on their Friends of UEFA EURO 2012 rosters at the end of  September, with a mixture of high-profile personalities and competition winner joining the campaign to promote next summer's tournament.
FC Bayern Munchen and Ukraine midfielder Antoliy Tymoschuk was among the final nine Friends of UEFA EURO 2012 revealed in Kyiv on 23 September as Ukraine completed its 100 strong list, a milestone Poland had reached three days earlier. During the special event, Markiyan Lubkivskyi, the tournament director in Ukraine, was delighted to present all of Ukraine's 100 Friends of UEFA EURO 2012, specially the half who are not famous names: "These people are not professional musicians or athletes, but their exceptional creative abilities will help us promote UEFA EURO 2012."
Poland's final batch of 11 were all competition winners who had triumphed in a UEFA European Football Championship history quiz and in a creative challenge about what UEFA values such as "respect" really mean. "We have finished the innovative programme for promoting UEFA EURO 2012, which was launched on 4 September last year," the Polish tournament director, Adam Olkowicz, said. "Congratulations to the winners of this contest and all the other Friends of EURO. I am convinced that in Poland we actually have millions."
The Polish register ranges from former national presidents Lech Walesa and Aleksander Kwasniewski, through artists, singers and athletes, to children who won the creative drawing contest. All share the common goal of promoting the tournament. "I feel a great responsibility," says Jerzy Dudek, a former Polish international and UEFA Champions League winner with Liverpool FC. "I hope all our guests will be happy when they leave Poland at the end of EURO 2012."
In Ukraine, the famous faces include world heavyweight boxing champions Vitaliy and Volodymyr Klitschko. "I want all Ukrainians to be Friends of EURO 2012, so that every visitor to Ukraine in the summer of 2012 will feel they are among friends," says Volodymyr, the younger of the two brothers.

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