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UEFA gives Ukraine final deadline for Euro 2012 preparations


MOSCOW, May 13 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine was handed a "last deadline" by UEFA on Wednesday as its preparations for Euro 2012 were deemed inadequate, while four cities were approved as venues in co-host Poland.

"There are numerous infrastructure issues that urgently need to be resolved in Ukraine to convince the UEFA Executive Committee that the host city candidates can be appointed as UEFA Euro 2012 host cities," UEFA President Michel Platini said following an Executive Committee meeting in Bucharest.

Kiev was confirmed as a venue for group, quarterfinal and semifinal matches, but was given until November 30 to prove it would be able to host the final.

"The final match will be held in Kiev only if specific conditions with regard to the stadium, airport infrastructure, regional transport and accommodation are met by November 30, 2009," European football's governing body said in a statement.

Three other Ukrainian cities - Donetsk, Lvov and Kharkov - have a similar ultimatum to show they will be able to stage group games. "A last deadline has been granted to these three cities to meet specific conditions by November 30, 2009," UEFA said.

By contrast, Warsaw, Gdansk, Poznan and Wroclaw were confirmed as host cities in Poland, as envisaged in the original bid.

The Ukrainian cities of Odessa and Dnepropetrovsk have been ruled out completely, as have Krakow and Chorzow in Poland. Despite UEFA assessing them as being "in a position to fulfill the conditions for hosting matches," the Polish pair has not been retained as reserve cities.

There have been long-standing concerns over Ukraine's ability to stage the tournament, with UEFA issuing several warnings over the progress of the country's preparations.

However, at the end of the fact-finding trip in mid-April, Platini declared that "it is impossible for Ukraine to lose the championship."

Despite those assurances, the assessment provided to UEFA's executive committee on Wednesday has left the organization in a difficult position.

It will not want to be proven mistaken in awarding the tournament to Ukraine, and Platini stressed the importance of respecting the decision to choose Poland and Ukraine as hosts.

"This was again emphasized by the UEFA Congress in March 2009, when it stressed the importance that the staging of this world-class event will have to further promote and develop football in the eastern part of Europe," Platini said.

Nevertheless, UEFA's statement on Wednesday noted that there were "important shortcomings regarding infrastructure in all Ukrainian cities in question."

"Significant work must be undertaken to meet the minimum requirements for an event the size of a final tournament of the UEFA European Championship," it added.

UEFA will now continue to monitor preparations in all eight cities and will review the situation regarding Ukraine in December 2009.

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