As proud co-hosts of UEFA EURO 2012, Poles are hoping that the tournament will leave a positive image of their country in addition to the social and economic impact that the event has already had since it was awarded to Poland and Ukraine in April 2007.
The president of the Polish Football Federation (PZPN), Grzegorz Lato, and Polish tournament director, Adam Olkowicz, gave their early opinions on the progress of the EURO at the National Stadium in Warsaw on Monday.
“I think when it comes to the infrastructure and organisation, the [early] evaluation is very positive,” said Lato. “I am very happy that the tournament is taking place in Poland – and not only the favourites are winning, this is what is beautiful about football.”
Lato and Olkowicz agreed that UEFA EURO 2012 had been pushing sporting and economic development forward in Poland. “We have great stadiums and centres, EURO 2012 is driving the development of football,” said Lato. “Of course we want to get through the group stage, but we are aware that this will be a great challenge, and we will see in the next few days.”
“We have constructed big stadiums and hundreds of kilometres of new highways, new airport terminals, it’s a great challenge for development,” added Olkowicz. “Thousands of workplaces have been created, so the tournament has had a great economic impact.
“This is the biggest event, not only in terms of football in Poland, but also the biggest social event that has ever been organised in our country,” the Polish tournament director continued. “We needed to learn very quickly how to organise it with the support and assistance and best practices of UEFA. Poland is living football. Thousands of people have come to the fan zones, they are very popular.
“We would like to continue the tournament without any impediments or problems,” Olkowicz concluded. “Through the organisational process, years became months, then just days and hours to the opening. After this tournament, I would like Poland and Ukraine to have confirmed our openness and our smile … with great weather and wonderful football emotions!”