Platini admits to “slightly rash” decision over Euro 2012 hosts

UEFA president Michel Platini has admitted that the decision to award Euro 2012 to Poland and Ukraine proved to be “slightly rash” in the wake of the global economic downturn, but has maintained that this summer’s tournament will be “a magnificent celebration of European football”.

Euro 2012 is set to get underway on June 6, but both host nations have been beset by preparation problems since being surprisingly awarded the event in April 2007. Indeed, December’s finals draw saw Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU) president Hrigory Surkis hail UEFA’s “patience” after admitting that the country had come close to losing its right to co-host the tournament. Political and economic problems slowed work on the project while the global financial crisis of 2008 also had a huge effect on preparations. Ukraine suffered in particular with these problems and Platini threatened to strip the tournament from the country in April 2010.

However, Platini, speaking on Thursday at the Euro 2012 finalists workshop in Warsaw, stated his belief that Euro 2012 would prove the “ideal showcase for our continent at a time when it faces some very difficult challenges outside the world of sport”. The finalists workshop in the Polish capital is focusing on areas such as match organisation, transport, logistics, accommodation, safety and security, medical matters, marketing as well as media services and operations. Platini hailed the progress made by Poland and Ukraine in the five years following the award of the event.

“In April 2007 in Cardiff, the UEFA Executive Committee took the brave decision to open European football's flagship tournament to two countries that had never previously organised sports events of such magnitude,” he said, according to UEFA.com. “This decision, which made perfect sense and was entirely in keeping with the historical development of Europe since 1989, turned out to be slightly rash in the context of the crisis that struck the world two years later. We therefore spent a long time discussing all the options open to us with the associations and governments concerned. The most logical option quickly became obvious to us all: to honour the trust that we had placed in Poland and Ukraine in 2007.”

Platini added: “Of course, UEFA has also taken unprecedented steps to offer all the expertise and experience of leading international experts in the different fields of activity in order to make sure everything will be ready when the tournament kicks off. After years of hard work and countless difficulties, I am convinced that we have achieved our objective: UEFA Euro 2012 can take place in excellent conditions.”