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UEFA head Platini in Ukraine for Euro 2012 inspection


KIEV, April 14 (RIA Novosti) - UEFA president Michel Platini starts a two-day visit to Ukraine on Tuesday to check on the country's preparations for Euro 2012.

Ukraine is set to co-host the tournament with neighbors Poland.

Platini and a UEFA delegation are to visit the capital, Kiev, as well as five other cities, Donetsk, Dnepropetrovsk, Lvov, Kharkov, and Odessa. Only four Ukrainian cities will host games however, and a final decision is expected either during or shortly after the UEFA delegation's visit.

UEFA earlier expressed disappointment with Ukraine's preparations for Euro 2012, and there was speculation that the tournament could be taken away from the former Soviet republic.

However, in early February, a UEFA delegation, led by UEFA secretary general David Taylor, reported that it was happy with Ukraine's progress.

"I and the delegates have been amazed, both by the city itself and the preparation being currently done by the local and regional authorities as a united team," local media reported Taylor as saying in Kharkov.

Despite this, with Ukraine in the midst of a crippling economic crisis and plagued by seemingly endless political instability, problems could yet arise before the festival of football kicks off in just over three years' time.

This is the first time that a major football tournament has been awarded to Eastern Europe, and a successful competition is likely to benefit Russia's bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

Russia's main rival for the right to host the 2018 competition is likely to be England, which has not hosted the World Cup since 1966.

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