With UEFA EURO 2012 drawing ever closer, UEFA President Michel Platini has visited the four host cities in Poland and met the Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. Poland are co-hosting next summer's event with Ukraine between 8 June and 1 July.
Mr Platini held fruitful talks with Mr Tusk, who reflected on his country's anticipation of the tournament. "I remember that after the decision that Poland and Ukraine would be organising UEFA EURO 2012, the people in Poland were not as optimistic as Mr Platini," he said. "Today we know that he was right."
Mr Tusk welcomed UEFA's positive response to the preparations being undertaken by Poland for European national-team football's blue-riband competition. He also articulated Poland's pride at its new National Stadium Warsaw – "one of the most beautiful football stadiums in the world" – which will host three group stage matches, a quarter-final and a semi-final.
Meanwhile, Mr Platini thanked the Polish government and said he was very satisfied with the preparations in Poland. "Not only the stadiums but the whole infrastructure – roads, airports, train stations, which will be very useful for the people in Poland and Ukraine after UEFA EURO 2012. Today I would like to thank the Prime Minister for the government's efforts. Everything is going well and we are looking forward to welcoming all visitors next year for a great celebration."
Before meeting Mr Tusk, the UEFA President visited the National Stadium Warsaw. He was impressed by the venue and expressed his gratitude not only to the Polish authorities and the Polish Football Federation (PZPN), but also to those who had worked on the construction of the stadium. "Without them, nothing would have been possible," he told reporters.
On Tuesday, Mr Platini went to Gdansk, declaring himself very happy with the city's appearance after the long months of preparation. "In the last two years Gdansk has changed very much," he reflected. The mayor of Gdansk, Paweł Adamowicz, was also satisfied. "It's nice to hear positive opinions about our preparations for the tournament. I can now say that Gdansk is ready for UEFA EURO 2012."
Later on Tuesday, the UEFA President was in Wroclaw, where he took in the new arena built for UEFA EURO 2012 and inspected the new terminal at Mikołaj Kopernik Airport. PZPN president Grzegorz Lato invited Mr Platini to the inaugural match at the new Municipal Stadium Wroclaw on 11 November, when Poland will take on Italy in a friendly.
The expectations are for a fine tournament, as emphasised by Poland's minister for sport and tourism Adam Giersz. "Today we can say that we are ready," he said. "It is a question of quality but we all believe that it will be the best EURO finals ever." The mayor of Wroclaw, Rafał Dutkiewicz, underlined the city's pride at being a EURO venue.
On Wednesday, the UEFA delegation toured the stadium and airport in Poznan. "UEFA is very satisfied with the current situation in Poznan," said Mr Platini. "I see many changes since my last visit two years ago. There is still construction work to be done at the airport and in the surroundings of the stadium – but the mayor of Poznan confirmed to me that everything is on schedule."
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