Euro 2012 co-hosts Ukraine are preparing to welcome tens of
thousands of football fans, after years of work to revamp and
build match venues as well as upgrade vital air, road and rail
Four venues in Ukraine are hosting 12 Group B and Group D
matches, as well as two quarter-finals and a semi-final before
the showpiece final at the Olympic Stadium in the capital, Kiev,
on July 1.
With 100 days to go until the start of the competition,
organisers are hoping to overcome lingering concerns about
Ukraine's ability to welcome foreign fans, despite all four
grounds being ready.
On the list of concerns are new airports, given that Ukraine had
not built a single new airport since independence from the former
Soviet Union in 1991.
But Deputy Prime Minister Borys Kolesnikov has insisted that
everything will be ready in time.
"The three new terminals of Kiev Boryspil aiport will be ready to
receive the guests in April," Kolesnikov told a recent news
conference. "The new airport in Lviv will start its work at the
end of March."
Fears have also been raised about the ability of the wider
transport network to cope with a huge surge in visitors.
"We expect 26,000 England fans and up to 11,000 French supporters
to arrive here to watch the clash between their teams,"
Kolesnikov told reporters.
"It's a serious challenge for our transportation system. But I
have no doubt we will be able to solve any kind of problem during
Ukraine has bought a number of high-speed trains from South Korea
to improve rail services. Seventeen trains carrying up to 9,000
passengers will run daily between Ukraine and neighbouring
Poland, which is also hosting the tournament.
Roads between host cities as well as Ukraine and Poland have also
been improved, Kolesnikov said, adding: "We are planning to
complete the road works in April or May at latest."
Hotel capacity and the cost of staying in Kiev for foreign
visitors is likely to be the biggest headache, with estimates
putting the cost of rooms at double that of staying in the Polish
An overnight stay in Kiev during the tournament is expected to
reach a staggering $332 (247 euros), compared with $149 in
Tent pitches in the Kiev suburbs will cost visiting fans about 40
euros ($54), the price of a daily staying in a hostel in Warsaw.
Kolesnikov, though, said that Ukraine has enough places in
inexpensive hotels in all of the host cities, although he
admitted there is a lack of capacity in Donetsk. Fans there will
have the option of staying on local university campuses, he
Ukraine has completely revamped Kiev's Olympic Stadium, which was
built in 1923 and is the country's oldest sporting venue. The
stadium -- with a capacity of 60,000 for the tournament -- was
reopened in October 2011 after a $585 million renovation.
The 50,000-seat Donbass Arena in Donetsk was built in three years
and cost the local mining and metal magnate Rinat Akhmetov around
$400 million. It was the first elite class stadium in Eastern
Europe when it opened in 2009.
The venue even has an infra-red heating system in the stands,
which was specially designed for the local climate and keeps the
temperature at the stands 12-14 degrees above the temperature
outside the arena.
The Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, which has a
capacity of 35,000 for the Euros, reopened after renovation in
Ukraine's fourth Euro-2012 stadium, Arena Lviv, is a completely
new stadium, and cost some $286 million. The 30,000-seat ground
opened in October last year.