EURO 2012 Fans Discovered Ukraine – Martin Kallen
July 7, 2012. UEFA operations director Martin Kallen shared his impressions of the European Football Championship, co-hosted by Ukraine and Poland. He expressed joy over the fact that so many fans came to Ukraine. “It has become a revelation for many,” he said.
“Everyone who comes to Ukraine for at least one week keeps this country deep in their hearts,” said Kallen. He explained that after four years working at EURO 2012 he grew attached to the country – he found many friends and business partners. “There are beautiful and hospitable people here; there are great business opportunities,” he added.
In his interview with http://ukraine2012.gov.ua Martin Kallen said he knew why the reported 500 EURO fans stayed in Kyiv past the tournament – wonderful city, sunny weather, nice people, and tasty food. He also said that he grew fond of lard, especially in combination with horilka (strong Ukrainian alcoholic beverage also known as vodka), as it always helped find understanding and network.
The New York Times also dedicated an article to the Ukrainian food that EURO 2012 fans experienced during their visit. According to the author, in Ukraine the “emphasis is not on the drink, but on the communal experience – being with friends, telling stories, celebrating”. “Food is essential to the proceedings,” adds the author.
Martin Kallen also said the most memorable moment of EURO 2012 for him personally was the shower at the beginning of a match in Donetsk on June 15th. “It was the toughest moment, everything had to be sorted out in minutes,” he said. Intense rain delayed the France-Ukraine match for one hour. Advanced field technology at Donbass Arena allowed to extract the water from the stadium in less than an hour.
UEFA official went on to say that EURO 2012 brought success to Ukraine and Poland. He is convinced that the 2012 championship will be remembered for being a well-organized event, its unique atmosphere, and great football.
Previously, WNU reported that EURO 2012 broke all-time audience record. Nearly 1.3 million visitors watched the group and quarter final matches of EURO 2012. The stadiums of the championship co-hosts Poland and Ukraine saw the combined number of 1,274,186 football fans over the fortnight. According to UEFA President Michel Platini, the average attendance at the stadiums reached 98 percent with 100 percent tickets sold. The total estimated amount of people attending EURO 2012 reached 1.8 million.