Writer: Joe Brown
Date:Wednesday April 18 2007
Poland and Ukraine today won the bidding race to host the European Championships in 2012 after beating off bids from Italy and Croatia-Hungary.
UEFA overlooked favourites Italy, whose bid was overshadowed by last season's referee corruption scandal and their on-going problems with football-related crowd trouble.
The decision was taken by 12 members of UEFA's executive committee meeting in Cardiff.
Poland and Ukraine had staged an impressive presentation yesterday with Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko, Liverpool keeper Jerzy Dudek, making appearances.
The victory for Poland and Ukraine is the first step in new UEFA president, former French footballing star Michel Platini's plan to spread the benefits of football throughout Europe and not just the big nations.
It is a little surprising as there has been a match-fixing scandal in Poland, whose government was also warned by FIFA and UEFA about political interference in the Polish FA.
It does of course mean that anyone travelling out their can indulge in cheap Polish beers, with unpronounceable names.
Four Ukrainian cities and six Polish venues have been lined up as host cities for 2012.
The four Ukrainian venues are Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Kiev and Lviv while Gdansk, Krakow, Poznan, Warsaw, Wroclaw, Chorzow have been earmarked for games in Poland.
Polish FA president Michal Listkiewicz said: 'Finally one of the big football events is coming to the countries which have had no opportunities to improve their football.
UEFA president Michel Platini said: 'Today Poland/Ukraine has been chosen by the UEFA executive committee to host Euro 2012 and they are surely a worthy winner. However there are no losers today, rather only bids that have not won this time round.
The two nations footballing histories, show that Poland in particular, have some pedigree internationally.
They knocked England out of the qualifying stages of the 1974 World cup when they held England to a 1-1 draw at Wembley, Brian Clough famously called the Polish keeper 'a clown' before the said keeper Jan Tomaszewski put in a career best performance to keep England at bay. The result also ultimately saw Sir Alf Ramsey lose his job as England manager. Poland went on to finish third in the World Cup.
POLAND: Third place at 1974 and 1982 World Cups. Olympic gold medallists in 1972; silver medallists in 1976 and 1992.
UKRAINE: Dynamo Kiev won the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1975 and 1986. Three players who have played for Dynamo been named European Footballer of the Year - Oleg Blokhin 1975, Igor Belanov 1986, Andriy Shevchenko 2004. Qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 2006, reaching the quarter-final where they lost to Italy.
Date:Wednesday April 18 2007
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