SЕ. PETERSBURG – President of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Michel Platini has said the organizers of the Euro 2012 European Football Championship in Ukraine and Poland must jointly solve the problem of entry visas for football fans.
We need some agreement between Ukraine and Poland so as to prevent difficulties for fans," Platini said at a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and leaders of the Russian football fan clubs in St. Petersburg on Thursday.
European and Russian fans have similar problems in this matter, Platini said, responding to a question posed by Spartak FC fan club representative Oleg Semyonov.
"I know that you do not need a visa for Ukraine, but you need one for Poland. Our situation is the reverse: we do not need it for Poland, but we need it for Ukraine," Platini said.
He thanked Putin for the Russian government's decision to allow foreign fans to stay 24 hours without visas during the 2008 Champions League match in Moscow between Manchester United and Chelsea.
As regards preparations for the Euro 2012, organizational problems, particularly in Ukraine, do exist, but the infrastructure is being readied, and the tournament will go ahead as planned, Platini said.
For his part, Putin recalled the decision, whereby all football fans with match tickets will be allowed to come to watch the 2018 world championship.
Moreover, the government is considering allowing fans to travel with these tickets between the cities hosting the competition, he said.
"Of course, we would be very grateful to our Polish friends (if they) do the same thing for our fans when hosting the European football championship," Putin said.