Ukraine President Promises $4.4 billion For Euro 2012

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on Thursday promised some $6.1 billion dollars in government and private funds would be spent on preparations for the Euro 2012 football championship by January.

Viktor Yanukovych

'Euro 2012 is not just a wonderful sports event, it is jobs and our GDP,' Yanukovych said, speaking at a meeting with government officials in the southern city Odessa.

The Ukrainian government has budgeted some $1.2 billion dollars towards preparation for the championship to be spent by the end of 2011, and private industry is likely to contribute another $3.2 billion dollars in investment credits over the same period, he said.

The money would go towards improving airports, roads, railroad, and developing hotel infrastructure, he said.

Opposition politicians have criticized the Yanukokych administration for allegedly spending too lavishly on getting ready for Euro 2012, and for planning to slash pensions and raise taxes to help pay to co-host the championship.

The UEFA in 2007 named Poland and Ukraine co-hosts for Euro 2012.

Ukraine's preparation effort thus far has been mixed with delays in stadium construction, transportation infrastructure overhaul, and hotel development the worst headaches.

Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, Yanukovych's top lieutenant, on Monday said work to get ready for Euro 2012 would be 'practically complete' by the end of 2011, according to an Interfax report.

Source: DPA