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Euro 2012 and the rocky road to Warsaw

FOOTBALL: Euro 2012 kicks off today (8 June) in Poland and Ukraine, just over five years since European football's governing body UEFA made the surprise choice of naming the two east European countries as joint hosts.

Friday 8 June 2012, 11:31AM


Euro 2012 mascots Slavko and Slawek finally get their chance.

Euro 2012 mascots Slavko and Slawek finally get their chance.

But from concerns about the completion of key infrastructure to political upheaval and homeland security issues, the long build-up to the first major football tournament behind the former Iron Curtain has been far from smooth...

April 18, 2007

UEFA springs a surprise by awarding Euro 2012 to Poland and Ukraine, overlooking Italy and a joint bid from Croatia and Hungary.

New president Michel Platini is not keen on the bid but some members of the body's executive committee vote against him.

Criticisms and doubts immediately emerge about the host countries. Deadlines are soon missed, particularly in ex-Soviet Ukraine.

August 27, 2009

Platini is concerned about progress in Ukraine.

"I don't know. There's highs and lows, promises, backtracking...," he tells AFP.

August 7, 2010

In Ukraine, pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych wins the presidency, beating the then-prime minister Yulia Tymochenko. He calls on the figurehead of the 2004 "Orange Revolution" to resign.

April 10, 2010

Polish President Lech Kaczynski and 95 members of his high-profile delegation are killed in a plane crash near Smolensk, western Russia, as they fly to commemorate thousands of Polish officers killed in a massacre during World War II.

March 25, 2011

"I'm going to go Ukraine and I will get a clear and serious explanation from the new government about the situation. I'll also bang the table a bit," Platini says, amid concern about infrastructure work and upgrades.

June 24, 2011

Tymochenko denounces her trial on charges of abuse of power and corruption as a political campaign orchestrated by Yanukovych.

New Paths Retreat

August 5, 2011

A court in Kiev trying the pro-Western figurehead sends her to jail on remand.

October 11, 2011

Tymochenko is sentenced to seven years in prison and ordered to pay some $190 million in damages.

March 16, 2012

Sixteen people are killed and some 60 others are injured when two trains collide head-on on the same track at Szczekociny in southern Poland in one of the country's worst train accidents.

April 12, 2012

UEFA's Platini condemns Ukraine hoteliers for sky-high prices: "It's a pain to have invested a lot and then to have to say to people that they can't come because there are bandits and crooks who want to make a lot of cash from this Euro."

April 17, 2012

Just six weeks from the start of Euro 2012, 27 people are injured in Ukraine in a series of explosions in the east central city of Dnipropetrovsk.

Yanukovych calls the bombings a "challenge" to the country.

May 31, 2012

The French minister for sports and young people, Valerie Fourneyron, says that "no member of the government will go to matches in Ukraine" because of Kiev's treatment of Tymochenko.

Other EU leaders have previously pledged not to go, claiming Tymochenko has been mistreated and jailed on trumped-up charges.

June 6, 2012

Platini says the tournament organisation will be "not far from perfection", two days from the start of the tournament and the first match between Poland and Greece.

 

 

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