Sunday, August 3, 2008

UEFA Euro 2012: One Month to Shape Up

This is not a stellar time for the upcoming hosts of international soccer tournaments. While much of the focus has been on South Africa's struggles to put together a credible World Cup in 2010, major concerns have developed over Ukraine and Poland's ability to host Euro 2012. With Euro 2008 complete, the attention turns to the future hosts, who are nowhere near being on pace. UEFA chief Michel Platini attempted to rally support Thursday for the local organizing committee, while also giving warning that a decision is coming next month as to whether or not the tournament will be moved.

So, as with the 2010 World Cup, there's the issue of who might serve as fill-in hosts. Italy were runners-up to Ukraine/Poland in the bidding for 2012, but Platini suggested the Italians are better off upgrading stadiums with an eye towards 2016. Scotland has expressed interest, but that seems like a long shot bid. With UEFA needing a safe bet, look for Germany or France to be the back-up plans. Spain is also in the mix, but the situation gets tricky if the Spaniards have ambitions of snatching the 2010 World Cup. The Germans have already stated they're uninterested in hosting a second-straight World Cup.

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