Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Just 20 weeks to go until the start of Euro 2012 and I've finally got my Euro blog up and running. Kept doing the usual thing that I guess a lot of us do in early January and putting it off. Have felt a bit lazy post-New Year, especially planning for an event in mid-summer when it is mid-winter here in Latvia.
Have been trying to apply for UEFA accreditation for the tournament but my FAME password hasn't been working and, thus far, my emails to UEFA in Zurich, asking them to rectify the situation, have gone unanswered. The deadline is Friday so it seems like time is against me.
I have until mid-February to apply for England-only tickets through the English FA. Have been trying to wait until I know what the score is with UEFA.
At the moment it looks like I will be going to Ukraine with a group of friends from Norway, Estonia and the United States. My English mates are non-committal. I think a lot of them are starting to feel the pain of the UK's rather dire economic realities. Some others like Geordie Robin have grown a little tired of some of the more corporate aspects of these tournaments. Let's see how they feel later in the year when the press start hyping the Euros.
I am a big fan of Ukraine but not so Poland and, therefore, I think I will be happy to spend most of the championships in Ukraine. All of England's group games are in Ukraine as well as two quarter finals, a semi and the final in Kiev. I'd also rather hang out in places such as Lviv, Kyiv, Odessa and Yalta regardless of whether matches are being played there or not.
But what to do about the spelling of the Ukraine's two main cities? Kiev or Kyiv? Lviv or Lvov? I guess I will just use all four variations for now.
January 18, 2012
UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino is said to be very impressed by the redevelopment of Kyiv's Olympiysky stadium:
"When I saw the updated stadium, I caught my breath and words failed me. This is a nice arena with an excellent atmosphere. The changes that have occurred at the Olympiysky stadium since my last visit are impressive. No doubt this is one of the most beautiful stadiums for the championship finals and the spectators coming here in summer will see this,"
The Olympiysky stadium will host a total of five matches during this summer's European Football Championships, including the July 1st final.