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9. EURO 2012: Poland and Ukraine awarded championship
April 18th, 2007 11:18PM



Poland and Ukraine will co-host the 2012 European Championship after beating out favorite Italy and a joint bid from Croatia and Hungary in a vote by UEFA executive committee members on Wednesday in Cardiff, Wales.

UEFA awarded the tournament to an Eastern European country for the first time since Yugoslavia hosted the final four of the European Championship in 1976.

Poland and Ukraine won the right to host the tournament in the first round of balloting, collecting eight votes to Italy's four. The Croatia-Hungary bid failed to win a single vote.

Italy was the favorite but ran into trouble because of off-the-field problems. A widescale match-fixing scandal involving several of the top teams in Serie A last year was followed by the death of a policeman when fans rioted at a Sicilian derby in Catania.

The decision was seen as a victory for new UEFA president Michel Platini, who was elected on the strength of support from Eastern European countries. It will now be up to Poland and Ukraine to provide the infrastructure to host the biggest tournament in the world after the World Cup. Concerns still remain about the shortage of high-quality hotels in the two countries, and inadequate transportation in both Poland and Ukraine. The proposed semifinal venues are currently more than 30 hours apart when traveling by train.


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