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Polish pride at EURO success

UEFA operations director Martin Kallen and Poland tournament director Adam Olkowicz have expressed considerable pride at the success of UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine, which has set new standards for major football events to achieve in future.

“We have organised a wonderful UEFA EURO 2012,” said Kallen in Warsaw at a review of the finals on Tuesday. “It was an outstanding tournament.” The positive tone in the Polish capital mirrored the thoughts of Kallen and Ukrainian colleagues at the review event staged in Kyiv on Monday.

“UEFA EURO 2012 is our big success,” added Olkowicz. “It is the unanimous opinion of the national teams, fans and journalists from all over the world. We have played as one team, but we have had different roles on the pitch. All tasks were carried out very well, so there is major satisfaction for all of us.”

A number of records were broken in Poland at Ukraine at the tournament between June 8 and 1 July. Over 1.44 million people attended the matches in the stadiums, ensuring a tournament average of 46,471 spectators. The largest single attendance was 64,640 fans at the Olympic Stadium in Kyiv for the match between Sweden and England. The overall stadium attendance reached 98.6%. The most attended match in Poland was the opening game between Poland and Greece, which was watched by 59,070 fans.

Martin Kallen spoke of the massive interest and positive impact of UEFA EURO 2012. “We have organised a great party together,” he reflected. “Both countries showed all their guests that they are able to organise such a big event. All national teams rated the services in Poland and Ukraine as being very high. There were no problems in terms of base camps, transport or security.”

Olkowicz talked about the atmosphere in the cities that were hosting national teams. “Thirteen teams chose Poland as their base camp. Thanks to the worldwide media, all of these 13 places were very popular during the tournament. All the people showed great Polish hospitality and there was a family atmosphere. Proof of this was the spontaneous initiative of the Portuguese players to display a big banner reading: ‘Thank you, Opalenica.’ This picture was very popular, especially in Portugal.”

Public training sessions were also a major success. There was no entrance fee and the training sessions were very popular among football fans. The highest attendance was registered at a Dutch session in Krakow, when 24,000 spectators turned up. Eventual European champions Spain held the most public training sessions – seven in total. There were 30 public training sessions in all, watched by a total of 114,500 spectators.

Official fan zones also proved a resounding success, with more than seven million supporters visiting them during the tournament. Over 1.4m fans visited the Warsaw fan zone, alongside 695,750 in Poznan, 652,450 in Wroclaw and 339,469 in Gdansk. The final proved the obvious most popular attraction, with 539,000 supporters watching the game between Italy and Spain in all eight fan zones.

“Everyone will remember the great atmosphere in the Warsaw fan zone during the opening game,” said Kallen. “Polish national-team colours were everywhere, and the great photos went all around the world.”

Both Olkowicz and Kallen praised the infrastructure work undertaken, and underlined that it will have a great impact on both countries in the future. “After UEFA EURO 2012, a lot of people will come back to Poland for a holiday or different major events,” said Kallen. “The Poles showed their capability to organise such a big event. And there are new motorways and better infrastructures.”

“A lot of people in Poland did not believe that we could organise such a great tournament, but we did it,” added Olkowicz. “At the airports during matchdays, there were around 50% more people than normal, but the opinions of UEFA EURO 2012 guests on the service at the airports were very positive. What is more, in Warsaw you can now travel by train to the airport – a big advantage. The infrastructure has been improved, and we can take great satisfaction.”

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