UEFA head Platini pays visit in Ukraine

16:35, 14 April 2009
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For Euro 2012 inspection

UEFA president Michel Platini starts a two-day visit to Ukraine on Tuesday to check on the country`s preparations for Euro 2012, according to RIA Novosti.

Ukraine is set to co-host the tournament with neighbors Poland.

Platini and a UEFA delegation are to visit the capital, Kiev, as well as five other cities, Donetsk, Dnepropetrovsk, Lvov, Kharkov, and Odessa. Only four Ukrainian cities will host games however, and a final decision is expected either during or shortly after the UEFA delegation`s visit.

UEFA earlier expressed disappointment with Ukraine`s preparations for Euro 2012, and there was speculation that the tournament could be taken away from the former Soviet republic.

However, in early February, a UEFA delegation, led by UEFA secretary general David Taylor, reported that it was happy with Ukraine`s progress.

"I and the delegates have been amazed, both by the city itself and the preparation being currently done by the local and regional authorities as a united team," local media reported Taylor as saying in Kharkov.

Despite this, with Ukraine in the midst of a crippling economic crisis and plagued by seemingly endless political instability, problems could yet arise before the festival of football kicks off in just over three years` time.

This is the first time that a major football tournament has been awarded to Eastern Europe, and a successful competition is likely to benefit Russia`s bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

Russia`s main rival for the right to host the 2018 competition is likely to be England, which has not hosted the World Cup since 1966.

RIA Novosti

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