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EURO 2012 co-hosts prove doomsayers wrong
KUWAIT: First Counselor of the Polish Embassy in Kuwait Roman Strzemiecki has described the EURO 2012 Football Championship co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine as a ‘resounding success’. Speaking to the press ahead of the final match in Kiev, Strzemiecki said it was the biggest event of that kind in Eastern Europe since the collapse of the communist system more than 20 years ago.
“This is a historic milestone in the relations between Poland and Ukraine. We showed how successfully the two friendly nations can cooperate in today’s Europe for the benefit of all the European nations. It should be remembered that Poland belongs to NATO, the European Union and the Schengen visa zone and Ukraine does not. Nevertheless the will of the authorities and peoples proved to be the decisive factor,” he said.
Commenting on the earlier reports about hooliganism and racism in Poland and Ukraine, the diplomat said the event proved the doomsayers wrong. “Most importantly, the tournament also proved doomsayers wrong. They predicted an explosions of racism, fascism and other ‘-isms’ in Poland and Ukraine. BBC screened a warning that visitors to Poland and Ukraine will return in coffins. The British news channel succeeded in scaring away some English fans. - perhaps that might be one of the reasons why the English team was deprived of enough strong support from the grand stand as they left the soccer battlefields prematurely,” Strzemiecki added.
He pointed out some the obstacles both countries faced and how they tackled the issues of hooliganism and racism. “There is this incidence where some hooligans attacked Russian fans, but Polish and Ukrainian forces quickly subdued the incidents in a very professional manner. But unfortunately, the incidents were blown out of proportion by some journalists fishing for scoops. UEFA has so far fined the Croat and German federations over misconducts by their fans. The European football governing body has also launched investigation in two other cases but none of them is related to the failed responsibilities of the Polish and Ukrainian football federations. Another proof of the EURO 2012 success has just come from Monaco where Poland was awarded as the hosting country of the 2016 European Men’s Handball Championships” the diplomat said.
The EURO 2012 has opened a window of opportunity for the co-hosts in tourism. According to the Polish Embassy, there has been a remarkable increase in the number of visa applications as many Kuwaitis now see Poland as a tourist haven. “Polish people are very friendly. Big Polish cities are the main destination for tourists. They possess a wealth of historical monuments, host famous people and offer variety of events. Poland has a diversified natural environment, which is relatively unaffected by human development. Visitors are attracted by mountains, sea-coast, and the lake reserves. With Modern hospitality and recreation facilities, cozy private rooms, campsites, mountain refuges and many other top attractions, tour of Poland is a must today,” Strzemiecki added.