13 of 16 Euro 2012 teams pick Poland over Ukraine

AFP, Monday 6 Feb 2012

An overwhelming 13 of the 16 teams qualified for Euro 2012 have opted for base-camps in Poland, tournament organisers said Monday, leaving fellow-host Ukraine virtually out in the cold

Euro 2012

"It's a fact that 13 teams have chosen Poland as their base for the duration for the European Championships," Adam Olkowicz, boss of the country's organising committee, said at a ceremony after a deadline expired for picking training locations.

Despite the fact that eight teams will play their group-stage matches in each host country, only three will set up shop in Ukraine—the Ukrainians themselves, plus France and Sweden.

In contrast, Germany have picked the northern Polish city of Gdansk as their base-camp, even though that means shuttling back and forth to the Ukrainian cities of Lviv and Kharkiv, which lie a respective 750 kilometres and 1,600 kilometres away.

Holland, who will play their games in the same locations, have meanwhile picked Krakow in southern Poland for their camp.

The choice of Krakow has been echoed by England, who will be playing in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, 870 kilometres away, and the eastern city of Donetsk, almost 1,600 kilometres from their camp.

The other teams playing in Ukraine but based in Poland are Denmark and Portugal.

Those both playing and staying in Poland are the Poles, plus Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Russia, and reining champions Spain.

Euro 2012 is the first-ever edition of the quadrennial championships behind the former Iron Curtain, in a region where infrastructure challenges outweigh anything in previous Western European host nations.

The issue of accommodation for teams, officials and fans alike has been a hot topic, with Ukraine in the spotlight due concerns over skyrocketing prices and a scarcity of rooms for supporters.

While scooping the lion's share of training camps is a clear thumbs up for Poland, organisers here have been anxious not to play up the subject at the expense of their Ukrainian neighbours.

"The issue was what are the best sites for the teams, the places their football associations were happy with," said Tomasz Szulc, head of the Polish organising committee's base-camp division.

"It didn't depend if these were in Poland or Ukraine. What mattered was providing the best conditions possible," he added.

European football's governing body UEFA has also sought to minimise the issue, previously underlining that while it presented a list of accredited potential base-camp locations in both countries, teams were free to go where they liked.

Euro 2012 kicks off on June 8 in Warsaw, and ends on July 1 with the final in Kiev.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter: @AO_Sports)

Search Keywords:
Short link: