Former Olympic pole vaulting champion Sergei Bubka played down concern by soccer fans there won’t be enough hotel rooms during this summer’s European Championships in Ukraine and Poland.
“Huge progress was made in the last two years, when the new president and government came in,” Ukraine’s Bubka, who is a member of the organizing committee for the European Championships, said in a round table interview in London today. The country is hosting with Poland.
London’s Daily Telegraph reported in December that England fans could face “a chronic shortage” of rooms. All of England’s group matches will be played in Ukraine. Dutch newswire ANP reported in January that the majority of Dutch fans would be flying in and out of Ukraine on the same day because there aren’t enough hotel rooms available. Dutch tour operators may also put some fans up in hotels in Turkey, and fly them in and out for matches from there, ANP reported.
“It will be sorted,” said Bubka, who is also president of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine. “They’re trying to use additional facilities, like a sanatorium. They are doing it. They will be prepared. Because this is so important for Ukraine, it’s opening Ukraine to the world to see.”
Bubka, who still holds the pole vault world record, is in London for the Laureus World Sport Awards. The six-time world champion, who retired after the 2000 Sydney Olympics, said he will be meeting with London mayor Boris Johnson and representatives of England soccer supporter groups tomorrow.
Sixteen teams will compete in the European Championships held in Poland and Ukraine from June 8 to July 1. The tournament is the most-watched sporting event after the World Cup andSummer Olympics. It’s the first time it has been held in eastern Europe.
Although the European Championships has already led to the construction of new airport terminals, runways and fast trains, a possible Ukrainian bid to host the Winter Olympics “could really speed up and accelerate the development,” of the country’s Carpathian mountain region, Bubka said.
“In the western part, there aren’t that many jobs,” Bubka said. “This will give a lot of jobs because many people from that area go somewhere else to find work.”