Ambitious plans to host Euro 2012 are unveiled

Euro 2004 champions Greece have plans to spend 115 million euros on six of eight stadiums needed for their candidacy to host the 2012 European soccer championship, a Sports Ministry source said yesterday. The Greek bid will include stadiums in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras, Volos and Iraklion used in 2004 Olympics soccer tournament, plus two new privately funded facilities in the rural cities of Larissa and Ioannina, the source said. Of eight proposed stadiums, only the 72,000-seat Olympic Stadium in Athens and the 33,000-seat Karaiskaki Stadium in Piraeus, near the capital, are deemed ready to run. The Greek file will be submitted to European soccer governing body UEFA on July 21, according to the Athens News Agency. UEFA will announce a shortlist of the three best candidate cities in November 2005, and will decide on the winning bid a year later. Azerbaijan, Italy, Romania, Russia and Turkey also intend to submit solo bids for the event, while Croatia/Hungary and Poland/Ukraine are working on joint candidacies. Sports authorities have had trouble filling the stadiums built or upgraded for the Athens Games, with sources at the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee admitting that the facilities surpassed Greece’s post-Games requirements. A Sports Ministry source however shrugged off such concerns yesterday. «Both the Larissa and Ioannina stadiums were approved on the basis of fan potential,» he said. «Last season, Larissa FC attracted an average of 15,000 fans per game, despite playing in the second division.» The deputy culture minister, also the state’s top-ranked sporting official, Giorgos Orfanos, said the criteria behind the selections included locational convenience, the provision of local airport services, as well as hotel and hospital infrastructure. He rejected journalist claims that Greece’s Euro 2012 bid had been delayed. «I’m honestly trying to understand the meaning of this when we face a July 21 deadline and today [yesterday] is July 11,» Orfanos argued. When asked to give details of the costs of staging Euro 2012, Orfanos said it was still too early to provide such a figure. «We will try to avoid burdening both the state and citizen by utilizing as best as possible revenues generated by ticket sales, and so on,» Orfanos said. (AFP, Kathimerini)

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.