England's training camp 'better but not perfect'

Polish officials have promised England world-class training facilities at Euro 2012 but the area surrounding their camp still leaves a lot to be desired.

The 1966 World Cup winners will train in the city of Krakow after the English FA agreed to share the costs of upgrading the facilities at local team Hutnik in exchange for their use during the June championships co-hosted by Ukraine.

Last year the UK's Sun newspaper published photos of the changing rooms with bare walls and strewn with rubble, saying the site was "barely fit for a pub team".

"The changing rooms are now exactly the same as Arsenal's," Krakow's deputy mayor Magdalena Sroka told Reuters in an interview.

"We had our people visit Arsenal. What they saw there was good and they did the same here."

England will play in the Ukrainian cities of Kiev and Donetsk but are to train in Krakow.

The city has cracked down on media access to the facilities since the December expose and pleaded for patience while moving ahead with refurbishment and planting new grass on the training pitch.

"We have a video camera installed to monitor the progress of grass growth and we have British greenkeepers coming here every week," Sroka said.

She also said representatives of the English FA who visited the site last week were pleased with what they saw.

Reuters did not have access to the changing rooms but got a peak of the stadium and nearby facilities from the outside and they looked far from ready to host the world's top footballers.

Three or four workers were putting fresh paint on rusted railings surrounding the stadium. There were also letters missing on a sign for a sports hall opposite the site and wide holes and cracks on the surface of a nearby car park.

"The pitch and the changing rooms are important and all the rest is irrelevant," Sroka said.

Krakow is not among the four Polish cities that will stage Euro 2012 matches but the Dutch and Italians will also have training camps there.

The Dutch will train at Wisla Krakow, the city's top club in recent years, while the Italians have selected a smaller ground occupied by local rivals Cracovia.


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