Ukraine Euro 2012 Chief In Kiev Stadium Contract Controversy

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's lead official in its preparations to co-host Euro 2012 refutes allegations that he was linked to companies awarded multimillion-dollar contracts for the massive upgrade of Kiev's Olympic Stadium.

Borys Kolesnikov

Ukraine's deputy prime minister and infrastructure minister Borys Kolesnikov told Ukraine media: "I am not, and will not be, neither directly nor through relatives, a stakeholder in companies that perform contract work for Euro 2012."

The Ukrainska Pravda news agency identified three companies linked to Kolesnikov who it said had been awarded €407 million of contracts for the stadium revamp without bidding, reported DPA.

Amid allegations of improper conduct, it was announced today that the country’s showpiece venue for Euro 2012, slated to hold the tournament final, will be opened on the 20th anniversary of Ukrainian Independence on Aug. 24.

Reviewing preparations for the tournament Ukraine is co-hosting with Poland, Kolesnikov said organisers had a "clear picture" of completion dates for Kiev and Lviv stadiums, two of the four Ukraine host venues yet to open, and the staffing of these facilities.

On the Ukraine government's official Euro 2012 website, he also claimed that rebuilding of the delayed Kiev stadium project - that has given UEFA so many headaches in the past year - is currently on schedule with work due to be finished by July 1.

Kolesnikov confirmed that the first match to be played at the 69,000-seat stadium will be in September and will involve Dynamo Kiev in Europa League or Champions League match.

Meanwhile, Poland's preparations for Euro 2012 have suffered a setback with news that the Gdansk stadium will not be completed until the end of April - three months later than planned.

Work on the 43,600-capacity stadium is delayed because of the harsh winter in Poland, Polish media have reported.

Gdansk authorities say the construction schedule will not affect the scheduled date of the first football match at the PGE Arena Gdansk on June 9 - one year out from the opening of the UEFA competition.

Lifetime ban for Ukrainian referee

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has dismissed an appeal by Ukrainian referee Oleg Oriekhov against a life ban from football handed down by UEFA for his involvement in a match-fixing ring.

Commenting on the decision, UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said: "We are very pleased with this confirmation from CAS, as well as the overall legal position that has been set out through this specific case.

"The fight against corruption is a difficult one, but one that we are determined to win. If the sporting legal institutions are working in the same spirit of zero tolerance, together we are stronger and will be able to make real progress."

UEFA punished Oriekhov last year following an investigation into the Europa League match he officiated on Nov. 5 2009 between FC Basel 1893 and PFC CSKA Sofia. Basel won the game 3-1.

UEFA said Orekhov had "violated the principles of conduct and his duty to disclose illicit approaches" after he was offered €50,000 ($67,000) to fix the match.

CAS upheld UEFA's ban, concluding that it was proved beyond reasonable doubt that there were "repeated contacts" between Oriekhov and the members of a criminal group involved in match-fixing and betting fraud.

Source: World Football Insider

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