Ukraine spent four years preparing for the event, and all this time it was criticized by all and everybody. First, in 2010 former member of Cyprus Football Federation Spyros Marangos alleged that money had exchanged hands to influence UEFA's decision on the tournament hosts. He claimed Ukraine and Poland paid 11 million euro to get the privilege. And though all allegations of corruption or bribery made by Mr. Marangos in relation to the decision on the hosting countries for UEFA EURO 2012 were recognized as completely unfounded the whole mechanism of total criticism had been put in motion. Germany was criticizing Ukraine for slow rates of preparation, claiming it was no match for Berlin, Hanover or Hamburg, which had experience of staging world championship. The logic is understandable. Apart from pretty good earnings, German politicians managed to unite the country.
When Ukraine started showing some results of infrastructure improvements the criticism focused on the political situation. In October 2011 a member of sport committee of Bundestag Frank Steffel called upon UEFA to deprive Ukraine of the right to host the tournament because of the violations of human rights in the country. This year, in spring, the European politicians called to boycott the Euro-2012 because of the imprisonment of Yulia Tymoshenko, a reason which had nothing to do with sport, in fact. Such political issues nearly ruined four years of hard work of thousands of Ukrainians, who were building roads, stadiums, airports. However, the official Brussels came to sense and declared no boycott would be announced.
Story about hate
The closer Euro was coming the darker the reports appeared. German newspaper Tageszeitung was writing about aggressive Ukrainian policemen-bribe takers, a tabloid Bild published rather outrageous article about the "country of prostitutes". Though after the scandal the phrase was erased from the website, it left a gall in the mind. And the infamous BBC Panorama film about "Stadiums of Hate" topped the anti-Ukrainian campaign. Moreover, not only foreign press was working hard to harm Ukraine's image. Certain Ukrainian mass media added their two cents as well.
However, foreign journalists have lived to regret their accusations and attacks. Columnist of the British Daily Mirror Oliver Holt has called upon British mass media to offer apologies, while Independent has written that the tournament in Ukraine "went a lot better than many expected in terms of organisation and fan experience." Now the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry is demanding apologies from BBC for the film about racism. And most probably Ukraine will get those apologies, as after the last year scandal with News of the World, which was engaged into illegal phone bugging, both British authorities and citizens disbelieve in British mass media, forcing to admit mistakes in public.
Wiser after Euro
It's a known fact that fans are disturbed people, ready for all kinds of "feats". However, for the whole month of the festival the law enforcement officers have never applied force. As for the experience, our policemen have become a lot wiser.
According to the Interior Ministry data, 22 thousand law enforcement officers have graduated foreign language courses. For the first time in history the Security Service of Ukraine, jointly with Defense Ministry, Interior Ministry and State Air Service, has carried out air policing over host cities. Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski noted 'model cooperation' between Polish and Ukrainian border guards and both sides are hoping for continuation. Almost 12 thousand of volunteers have gained priceless experience in language practicing.
Scooping a profit
Euro-2012 tournament has appeared to be record-breaking on many parameters with 150 million audience and 1.5 million stadium visitors. None of the previous European tournaments has been that popular.
The official Kyiv fan-zone gathered maximum number of guests with 140 thousand people watching the game between Ukraine and France. The Donetsk fan-zone had 350 thousand fans, while the Lviv fan-zone was visited by 400 thousand fans. It's still being calculated how much all those people spent. However, according to the preliminary data, about 7.5 million hryvnias were spent just for beer. The Swedes were the biggest beer lovers, ForUm learned from the sellers in the Kyiv fan-zone.
Head of the Euro-2012 department in Lviv Oleg Zasadniy informed that, according to the preliminary calculations, the city has earned almost half a billion hryvnias. Donetsk mayor Oleksandr Lukianchenko has reported 300 million hryvnias of profit. The capital, however, has earned only 84 million. All Ukraine's airports have got their benefits. Kharkiv airport has increased the passenger flow by four and a half times, Kyiv Bboryspil' - by three times, and Donetsk and Lviv airports - by two and a half times.
But the most import is new jobs. According to the infrastructure minister Borys Kolesnikov, only the aviation sphere hired up to 35-40 thousand new workers.
Image is everything
The profit from Euro tournament is not always measured by a number of banknotes spent by fans. Ukraine has managed to bust numerous myths about "post-Soviet-third-world-country". Not only modern stadiums and good cuisine, but also hospitality, kindness and team spirit of Ukrainians have conquered Europe. During Euro-2012 people forgot about politics, language issues and coming elections, and simply enjoyed the football fest.
Indeed, Ukraine is like a student, who is studying an exam at the last night. Camping site for the Swedes was completed at the last minutes and road asphalt was put at the last days. But we did it! Both Ukraine and Poland completed all takes in due time and carried out the festival despite all dark forecasts.
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