Chorzow to Host Euro 2012 Inaugural Game?

The first match of the Euro 2012 soccer championships is expected to be in Chorzów or Poznan because Warsaw’s new stadium is unlikely to be finished by then. An indication of how far behind schedule the stadium effort is: A design competition, the first step toward realizing the project, has yet to be announced. In addition, no demolition work has started on Warsaw’s old 10th Anniversary Stadium.

The new stadium, the National Sports Center, is to rise at the 10th Anniversary site. The Polish Soccer Association will suggest to the European Football Association that Chorzów be the site of the first match, or possibly Poznan, the newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza reported.

Chorzów would seem like a good choice. Seating in Chorzów’s new Silesian Stadium is almost finished. The roof of the domed facility is expected to be completed in June of 2010. As for accommodating crowds, Silesia’s road connections with other cities are the best in Poland. Chorzów also has soccer tradition on its side. Silesia has a strong soccer tradtion and Silesian Stadium is the most important arena in Polish soccer history.

Those who oppose having Silesia play the lead role in the football championships contend that the area lacks enough lodging for the tens of thousands expected for the event. They don’t see Chorzów as the kind of attractive city that international visitors would be interested in, either.

Chorzów backers counter that Chorzów itself may not have enough accommodations for the Euro 2012 visitors, but the province does. The Silesian region boasts about 150 hotels, supporters say. And Kraków, which has a large hotel base, is nearby. They also contend that the city is no longer an ugly hub of mining and heavy industry. The mines have been closed, and the steel and chemical industries are playing a much smaller role than they used to in the area’s economy. The city is now focusing its development on higher education, small and medium enterprises, commerce and retail.

As for tourist attractions, Chorzów boasts the elegant, and historically important, ul. Wolności promenade. And it is creating modern tourist attractions, such as a Provincial Culture and Leisure Park. The park features a zoological garden, a planetarium with an astronomical observatory, an ethnographic park, cable railway, fair and sled run. And Silesia is modernizing its roads network for the soccer championships. The new setup will improve traffic flow in the city center, in residential districts and on roads outside the city. It will include excellent highway connections to other cities. Like the soccer-stadium construction, the roads revitalization is proceeding according to plan, Gazeta Wyborcza reported. 

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