Friday, February 17, 2012
With many football fans put off from travelling to Ukraine Euro 2012 because of the reported high prices of accommodation, the message from More Than a Game is: shop around, be patient and don't panic.
It has been our experience from all past major tournaments that local hoteliers will, of course, jack up their accommodation prices prior to a FIFA World Cup or a UEFA European Championships in the hope that visiting supporters will be willing to pay whatever is asked of them.
Many supporters will already have foolishly bitten the bullet and cashed out 300 euro per night for an apartment in Kyiv; others sadly will have abandoned their original plans to travel to the Euro tournament. But, for those fans who are yet to book any accommodation in Kiev, Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lviv, try to remember that many fans and corporate guests will cancel their hotels (as they always do) just prior to the tournament, freeing up thousands of rooms in the process that hotel and guest house owners will then struggle to fill.
While most sites on the Internet offering accommodation are still asking astronomical prices, there are sites such as www.hotelsukraine.com/ua/en where you will find the odd gem, especially if you are willing to base yourself in satellite towns close to the host cities during the tournament.
The best site we have so far found on the Internet for accommodation in Ukraine is run by travel experts TUI. Putting in a random search for 'Donetsk' for 3 nights between June 12-15, we found accommodation available for as low as 40 euro per night for two people sharing a double room in Donetsk. Try www.accom2012.com for the dates you are looking for and you may strike lucky. The company boasts that they have 32,000 places in Kyiv alone.
Euro organisers will also be providing extra accommodation options in 'tented cities' during the Euros. So, whether you manage to book your accommodation in advance or decide to leave it until you are 'on the ground' in Ukraine, there is certainly no need to panic about Ukrainian bunk beds....well not just yet anyway.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Fabio Capello has resigned as England manager.
Once again, the English football team, the English Football Association and the British press have succeeded in making the English game the laughing stock of world football.
Frankly, you couldn't make it all up. Every single time England prepare to participate in a major football tournament - be it the FIFA World cup or the UEFA European Championships - the national team players, the English FA and the press seem to indulge in an all-consuming game of collective self destruction. Yes, England might bemoan their bad luck at crashing out of major international tournaments in penalty shoot outs but, the truth is, England suffer less from bad luck and more from self-inflicted mutilation. Read up on studies relating to this and you will discover that most self-inflicted wounds occur during war time. Potential draftees self harm so as to avoid the draft and being sent to war for their country. Self destructive behaviour, on the other hand, often occurs when an individual cannot face the potential stress of failure and then purposely destroys what they have as a coping mechanism. Does this explain the behaviour of the English FA, Fabio Capello and the English press? Or are they all just plain stupid?
It is just four months until the European Championships begin in Poland and Ukraine. England have no national team manager.
More Than a Game got caught on the hop and actually received the news of Capello's resignation not from the media but from several of its readers. When news broke on February 8 that Harry Redknapp and Milan Mandaric had each been cleared of almost £200,000 of tax evasion charges, you just knew the English press would begin howling for Capello to go and for Redknapp to take over as the new England boss. As tabloid editors began preparing their 'Arry for England! sports headlines yesterday, even they must have been caught on the hop by Capello's decision to openly criticize (on Italy's RAI Television) the English FA's decision to strip John Terry of his captaincy. By doing this Capello had effectively broken his contract and the FA could force the Italian to go. Sick of the circus that is the England manager's job, and one in which Capello had often acted up like a clown, Capello too realised he could escape its shackles if he so wished.
As one More Than a Game reader suggests:
Perhaps all England supporters and the players and management should wear red noses in the summer in Poland and Ukraine, big floppy shoes...squirty flowers optional.