Sat, Jun 14, 2008 - Page 11 News List

Taiwanese design group says project not delayed

HIGH STAKES According to a report, Ukraine could lose the right to co-host the Euro 2012 soccer tournament because of delays in the reconstruction of a stadium

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

A Taiwanese company that won a tender to reconstruct a stadium in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev in April denied yesterday that it had delayed carrying out the project.

A spokesman for Archaisa Design Group Ltd (瀚亞聯合建築師事務所) was responding to a Reuters report that quoted a Ukrainian Soccer Federation official as saying that the winning bidder appeared incapable of finishing the Kiev Olympic Stadium reconstruction project in time because of a lack of materials and building resources.

“The Reuters report was false,” the spokesman said, adding that the Ukrainian government would publish a report later in the day detailing the truth about the issue.

According to the Reuters report, Ukraine could lose the right to co-host the Euro 2012 soccer tournament because of delays in the US$300 million reconstruction of the stadium.

As the project involves dismantling an adjacent shopping center, the report said, reconstruction has been stalled over compensation disputes.

Although a deal was clinched to dismantle the center after months of wrangling, the report said, there is no sign of work starting.

The report claimed Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko is concerned about the slow progress of preparations and has given the organizing committee until Wednesday to resolve key issues.

It added that Michel Platini, the president of European soccer’s governing body UEFA, has also criticized preparations in Ukraine.

The report further said that rumors have periodically swept Kiev that UEFA officials are drawing up contingency plans to move the event elsewhere if demands are not met. Poland is the other co-host.

The report quoted Boris Voskresensky, a deputy head of the Ukraine Soccer Federation, as saying that the Taiwanese design group had agreed to a plan under which the stadium would have a capacity of 85,000, but had since proposed a scheme for no more than 50,000 seats.

However, the Archaisa spokesman rebutted Voskresensky’s remarks, saying that the capacity demanded by the Ukrainian authorities was 73,000 and that the company has accordingly come up with a blueprint for that capacity.

The spokesman said the project is being handled by the country’s sports ministry and the Euro 2012 organizing committee.

“We are working closely with the two institutes on the stadium design and reconstruction and are preparing to furnish UEFA with a briefing on the project,” the spokesman said.

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