Ukraine: UEFA pleased with Euro 2012 progress

KIEV - European soccer authorities are pleased with Ukraine's progress in preparing for the Euro 2012 championship, to be co-hosted with neighbouring Poland, senior Ukrainian officials said on Friday.

Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Vasyunyk said a visiting UEFA delegation, led by secretary-general David Taylor, no longer harboured doubts about Ukraine's preparations after a tour this week of Ukrainian host cities.

"David Taylor stated that Ukraine had managed to maintain the pace of Euro 2012 preparations despite the global financial crisis," Vasyunyk told a news conference.

"This was an appropriate response to all those pessimists who keep doubting Ukraine will meet all its obligations. UEFA representatives have seen that Ukraine has moved from promises and plans to concrete action."

Taylor, addressing reporters in the western city of Lviv on Thursday, said his group had been given an extensive tour and praised Lviv for its progress in building and modernising its airports, roads and hotel network.

"It is a truly beautiful city but will become even more beautiful once the stadium is built," he said.

Lviv is one of four main cities due to host matches in Ukraine, along with Kiev, Dnipropetrovsk and Donetsk. UEFA officials, including President Michel Platini, had been highly critical of the pace of Ukraine's preparations and demanded faster fulfilment of pledges.

Lviv chose a contractor to build a new stadium only in recent months while Kiev is now proceeding with renovation of its stadium, due to host the final, after long delays.

Taylor said UEFA would not make its final announcement on which Ukrainian cities are to host Euro 2012 matches until at least May 15.

The head of Ukraine's soccer federation, Grigory Surkis, said on Friday that Taylor's tour had produced positive results.

"This was the first time since we won the right to co-host Euro 2012 that I did not have a difficult discussion with UEFA," he told reporters.