Saturday, 24 March 2007

Italy 'ready for Euro 2012'

FIGC Extraordinary Commissioner Luca Pancalli assures Italy are in pole position to host the Euro 2012 Championships.

"I am convinced that after the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin the world knows our ability to organise big international tournaments," said the temporary Federation chief.

"We are up to the task of Euro 2012. This is why I am not irritated by FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s comments backing the Ukraine-Poland bid. Besides, I have grown to know his style by now."

Italy are on the three-nation shortlist along with Croatia-Hungary and Ukraine-Poland for a decision that will be announced in Cardiff on April 18.

This week Blatter paid a visit to Kiev and told local journalists that theirs was an excellent proposal to host the games.

One of the main stumbling blocks in Italy’s candidacy is the need for a permanent Federation chief in place, but Pancalli’s tenure expires on April 2 and he has no intention of continuing.

Current FIGC vice-President Giancarlo Abete has been put forward as a candidate to take over after the temporary Calciopoli measures.

In the meantime, Pancalli is working hard to ensure Italy can have the best possible chance of hosting their first major football tournament since the 1990 World Cup.

"I regularly speak to UEFA President Michel Platini and I know he really likes our initiative. He also agrees that we need to bring certain values back to the sport.

"We are going to Cardiff hoping to win, but it is a race. As always, there is the risk of defeat. The important thing is the taking part, not the victory. However, not just De Coubertin added that it is also crucial to go in preparing to win."

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