Ukraine Euro 2012 Bid In Doubt Over Stadium-Soccer Boss

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's bid to co-host the 2012 European Championship is in serious doubt because of a row over a construction site next to the ex-Soviet state's main stadium, the country's top soccer official said on Friday.


World governing body FIFA has told Ukraine's soccer federation it will withdraw permission for international matches to be played at Kiev's 84,000-seat Olympic stadium because of the construction of a nearby shopping and entertainment complex.

"The Ukrainian soccer federation views our bid now with serious doubt because the problem around the Olympic stadium remains unresolved," federation president Grigory Surkis said in a statement.

"The authorities are not doing everything they can to settle the future of our country's main stadium."

Ukraine's joint bid with Poland was a surprise inclusion on the shortlist of candidates to hold the 2012 tournament along with Italy and a joint entry by Hungary and Croatia.

The stadium, built in 1923, has undergone reconstruction several times and was used for the soccer tournament at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. It remains the centre of soccer in the country and draws huge crowds for major matches.

Construction has proceeded at the adjacent site despite objections from members of parliament and a restraining order by prosecutors. FIFA says the site would violate safety and public order regulations.

Surkis has demanded a halt to the project and threatened to bring soccer fans into the street to confront building workers. The project's backers deny any violation of safety regulations.

The federation president is running for parliament next month on a ticket opposed to liberal President Viktor Yushchenko -- as is national soccer team coach Oleg Blokhin.

Yushchenko last year issued an order to his government to take whatever measures are necessary to facilitate the 2012 bid.

Source: Reuters

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