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UEFA Selects Poland-Ukraine to Host Euro 2012
The Guardian, April 18th, 2007 3:30PM

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UEFA on Wednesday pulled off a shock decision in awarding the 2012 European Championship to joint-hosts Poland and Ukraine, a move that has already secured the legacy of new UEFA President Michel Platini, the Guardian's Jonathan Wilson said. The "jaw-droppingly unexpected" decision was no doubt a "welcome" one, he said, as Platini and co. decided to go with the eventual winners ahead of World Cup champion Italy, and a joint bid from Croatia and Hungary.

Poland and Ukraine, while no doubt fresh and unexpected, "will not be easy," said Wilson. Start with the small problems: scale. It takes 34 hours and two time zones to travel from Wroclaw, the westernmost city in Poland, to Donetsk, in Eastern Ukraine. Stadiums will also need major renovations, already underway in Donetsk as well as a few Polish cities, and hotels need to be built. Security, a problem in both Poland and the Ukraine, will certainly prove to be a massive undertaking. All of this will be very expensive and require outside investment.

But Wilson stresses that it's also a fantastic opportunity, and a clear statement about "the direction UEFA will take under Michel Platini's presidency." Wilson points out that the Frenchman was largely elected thanks to the support of the East, which he stressed the importance of developing during his campaign. Now he's repaid their faith.

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