Sports News

Ukraine's 2012 candidates to learn fate

FUNCHAL, Portugal (Reuters) - Three Ukrainian cities will learn on Friday whether they will host matches at Euro 2012 in a decision being eagerly awaited in a country due to hold a presidential election in January.

European soccer’s governing body UEFA began a two-day meeting on Thursday to decide which, if any, of Donetsk, Lviv and Kharkiv are suitable venues for a tournament to be staged jointly with Poland.

UEFA’s executive committee, meeting in a luxury hotel overlooking the Atlantic on the island of Madeira, will also decide whether Kiev will host the final.

The capital is the only Ukrainian city which has so far been confirmed as a venue and has already been promised group matches, a quarter-final and a semi-final.

Kiev’s staging of the final has been made contingent on completion of renovations at the Olympic Stadium.

Ukraine has been hit hard by the global recession and Euro 2012 would offer the chance of investment in infrastructure including transport and hotels.

UEFA has been frustrated by the slow progress of work in Ukraine and in May gave Donetsk, Lviv and Kharkiv six months to show significant improvement. UEFA president Platini decried “huge” problems -- airport infrastructure, transport networks and suitable accommodation for a huge influx of fans.

In September, Platini said that Ukraine had made significant improvements and the situation had gone from red to orange.

Gdansk, Wroclaw, Warsaw and Poznan have been confirmed as Poland’s venue cities.

Editing by Kevin Fylan; to query or comment on this story email