Poland's Euro 2012 Head Expected More From Ukraine

BARCELONA, Spain -- Ukraine hasn't met expectations for organizing this summer's European Championship, according to the head of tournament co-host Poland's operations.

Ukraine has faced delays in construction of stadiums, hotels and other infrastructure in the run-up to the June 8-July 1 tournament as the country grappled with effects of the global economic meltdown in 2008, while Poland was cushioned by membership of the 27-nation European Union.

"We expected more (from them) but I'm sure the Ukraine is very determined,'' Wojciech Folejewski said from Barcelona's Global Sports Forum on Thursday.

Accommodation has been the biggest problem for Ukraine, and Folejewski believes his easterly neighbor will be hard pressed to deal with the influx of fans from Germany, Netherlands, England and Denmark.

While Michel Platini praised the co-hosts preparations from Paris on Thursday, the UEFA president had previously threatened to strip Ukraine of its hosting rights if it did not accelerate work.

"The needs for the customers will be very high and this is the challenge. It's been much easier to organize for us,'' Folejewski said.

"This is very difficult. But I think we will win.''

Folejewski said UEFA was perhaps a little naive in likening Poland to Ukraine as he feels his country is closer to Germany when it comes to infrastructure.

But the chief operating officer said that hosting the continental championship had accelerated Poland's growth by three years.

"UEFA choosing us, they thought we were very similar but the reality is very different,'' Folejewski said.

"If you look at past co-hosts like Switzerland-Austria or Belgium-Holland, they were very easy (to organize). Let's do more challenging and complicated projects (in the future). Poland-Ukraine is very fresh.''

Euro 2012 kicks off June 8 with Poland playing Greece, while the first match held in Ukraine is between Germany and the Netherlands in Kharkiv one day later.

"It's a great adventure and a big challenge,'' Folejewski added.

Source: AP