Ukraine Hotel Prices For Euro 2012 Still An Issue

WARSAW, Poland -- Organizers says curbing hotel prices in Ukraine and coordinating services in Poland are the main challenges remaining for the European Championship.

The soccer showcase begins in June and is the biggest international sports event either country has held.

The neighboring host nations have been building and upgrading stadiums, hotels, airports and roads.

Euro 2012 operations director Martin Kallen said preparations are "under control" and close to finished.

But he said very high prices in some hotels in Ukraine may give the country and the tournament a bad image.

Speaking from Kiev, Ukraine, Kallen said he has "appealed for reason."

Ukraine has a wide offer of accommodations and reasonable prices can be found, he said during a conference of Polish and Ukrainian officials in charge of the tournament.

Ukraine has built and modernized four stadiums and four airports, and its road system is ready for the tens of thousands of fans traveling to venues during the three-week event, Deputy Prime Minister Boris Kolesnikov said.

Poland should have its stadiums and accommodation ready May 15, according to Sports Minster Joanna Mucha.

She said the main tasks now are to coordinate all services and to speed passport and customs procedures on the border with Ukraine, which is the European Union's external border, and where waiting time on road crossings can be up to four hours.

The head of the organizing body in Poland, Marcin Herra, said his main concern is to ensure that transit, lodings, information and security coordinate smoothly.

Euro 2012 starts June 8 with Poland playing Greece in Warsaw at National Stadium.

The stadium opened Jan. 29, six months behind schedule, and Poland's exhibition game against Portugal on Wednesday will be its first sports event.

Source: Boston Globe