Yushchenko blasts Euro 2012 financing

KIEV - President Viktor Yushchenko accused Ukraine's government on Monday of breaking promises on financing Euro 2012, placing in doubt preparations already criticised by European football officials. Yushchenko issued the criticism three days after Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, his estranged ally turned rival, said preparations to co-host the event with Poland were proceeding normally despite the effects of the global financial crisis. She backed longstanding plans to have matches staged in four cities in each of the two countries. Yushchenko, addressing top officials, including the central bank chief, said the government had met no more than five percent of pledges to provide 2009 financing equivalent to $945 million. "The financing programme for Euro-2012 is under threat," the president's press service quoted him as saying. "Together with the central bank and the finance ministry, we must find financial resources." He ordered the central bank and finance ministry to produce, within a week, plans for financing Euro 2012 sites, including stadiums, airports and transport networks. European's football governing body, UEFA, has expressed doubts about Ukraine's ability to stage the tournament and has so far confirmed Kiev as the sole Ukrainian city able to host matches. But the capital's staging of the final was made contingent on completion of renovations at the Olympic Stadium - already subject to major delays. Three other Ukrainian cities - Lviv, Donetsk and Kharkov - must be confirmed at a UEFA meeting on November 30 along with Kiev's right to stage the final. UEFA has already granted four Polish cities to hold Euro 2012 matches. UEFA President Michel Platini decried "huge infrastructure problems" in Ukraine in May - airport instructure, transport networks and suitable accommodation for a huge influx of fans. Ukraine and Poland were chosen as co-hosts in 2007. Platini and other UEFA officials have said the tournament will not be withdrawn from either country but have suggested the distribution of cities hosting matches could be altered.