FFU chief slams Euro 2012 speculation
03 May 2012
Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU) president Hryhoriy Surkis has called for an end to speculation that the country will be stripped of its right to co-host UEFA Euro 2012.
Ukraine has come under renewed pressure on two fronts in the past week and Surkis has dismissed talk of the event moving to Spain as “nonsense”. Led by Germany, leaders of several European Union countries have cancelled scheduled visits to Ukraine in protest at the treatment of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko by President Viktor Yanukovich’s leadership. Tymoshenko is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence for alleged abuse-of-office – a charge she denies – and has this week alleged she has been beaten by prison guards. Commentators have criticised her imprisonment as a means of political revenge on the part of Yanukovich after the two officials fought a bitter battle for the presidency in February 2010.
Meanwhile, UEFA was forced to ease fears over security by maintaining its belief that Ukraine will stage a “smooth and festive” Euro 2012 following bomb attacks in the city of Dnipropetrovsk on Friday. Speaking on Wednesday, Surkis said: “I insist on the discontinuation of any speculation around Euro 2012. It concerns, among others, the spread of rumours about the alleged statement by president of the Spanish Football Federation Mr. (Angel Maria) Villar, who allegedly asked the UEFA to move the tournament to Spain. I spoke to my colleague by phone. He said it is nonsense and that he did not give any comment on this to anyone.”
Surkis added that there was no talk of dissatisfaction on the part of UEFA during a supervisory board meeting held in Nyon on Monday. “Such was and is today the UEFA’s official position with regard to the results of many years of hard work in the host countries,” he said, according to the Interfax news agency. “Neither the Ukrainian, nor Polish delegation heard any other interpretations over this matter in the corridors of the UEFA headquarters.”