UKRAINE - In spite of the optimistic PR and UEFA's still positive pronouncements on Euro 2012 preparations in Poland and Ukraine, there are reservations about the organizational aspects of the event. The main concerns relate to local infrastructure, inadequate accommodation for fans and tourists, and poor air and road communications in the host cities. The local authorities are doing their best to find solutions to the problems: one idea is to import luxury Dutch hotel cruise ships to Gdansk and, instead of expanding Poznan’s airport, to use smaller airfields in surrounding towns to meet the demand. Infrastructure aside, arena development is making rapid progress: the Ukrainian stadium in Dniepropietrovsk opened in September, the construction of a national stadium in Warsaw is scheduled to begin in October and the funding for the other locations is in place. All this is watched over by UEFA, which periodically releases reports in easily understood traffic light colours. At the time A10 went to press it was still green, but the football organization has warned Poland and Ukraine they still risk losing their rights to stage Euro 2012 if they do not keep their promises. (Tip: Click the link at the bottom of the page to view the Polish stadiums)
A new 40,000-seat arena will replace the old 1920s stadium. Its design is based on minimum satisfaction of UEFA norms. The facade of the western stand will include a reproduction of the historical columns as a reminder of the previous structure built in the style of 'proletarian classicism'. Flanked by two roads and accessible via two different metro lines, it is very well located from the point of view of transport. The construction of the Metalist Arena should encourage redevelopment of the surrounding area into a new urban district to be known as Metalist City.
With 83,000 seats, the Olympic Stadium in Kiev has the biggest capacity of all the World Cup stadiums and is set to host the Euro 2012 grand final. Its 1960s concrete tribunes don't meet UEFA evacuation standards so in April the Ukrainian government organized an international competition for the stadium's reconstruction. The winning design by Taiwanese Archasia Design Group proposed building a new structure with a great drop in height towards the neighbouring hill. However, in late June the competition results were rescinded and the government is now reconsidering the designs submitted by Foster + Partners and gmp Architects. Architecture aside, the plan to remodel the Olympic Stadium is a failure from an urban design point of view as it is right in the centre of Kiev and beset by intractable transport issues.
Lviv has managed to achieve what other Ukrainian cities can only dream about – to locate a new arena on the city outskirts and turn it into a springboard for development of the surrounding area. In addition to the 33,000-seat stadium, a planned sports complex will include a hotel, car parking and a shopping mall. The surrounding 250-hectare area will, over the next 20 years, develop into a new mixed-use urban district with housing, a community centre, city park, renovated hippodrome, exhibition and trade complexes. The stadium design by Atelier Albert Wimmer is based on a previous design for Wörthersee Stadium in Klagenfurt.
The main sports venue in Odessa will replace the old Chernomorets Stadium overlooking the Black Sea in the centrally located Shevchenko Park. The new stadium by Fiebiger GmbH aims conform to the UEFA's Elite categorization. The 40,000-seat stadium will provide excellent views of the sea thanks to its glazed facade. However, the developer's plan to combine the stadium with two high-rise office and hotel towers threatens to destroy the heritage-listed park. Also problematical is the stadium's transport accessibility.