Ukraine surprised by England 'illogical' Poland Euro 2012 base

By Dan RoanBBC sports news correspondent

Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister has told the BBC he is "surprised" by England's decision to base themselves in Poland for Euro 2012, despite playing their group matches in Ukraine.

Borys Kolesnikov said it would benefit England's opponents as the team would have to travel thousands of miles.

"We are surprised by the decision but it will be easier for us," he said.

And Ukraine's UK ambassador, Volodymyr Khandogiy, added: "From my point of view it's not logical."

Deputy PM Kolesnikov invited England manager Fabio Capello to consider swapping the team's planned base in Krakow for an alternative across the border.

"The coach of the France national team Laurent Blanc is visiting Donetsk [to find a training camp], and everyone knows our bases are among the best in Europe," he said.

However, the Football Association has insisted England will not change their training base despite facing journeys of 930 miles to Donetsk, twice, and 540 miles to Kiev from Krakow.

If England are to win the tournament, then it is possible that they will have to cover 10,000 miles.

England open their campaign against France on 11 June at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk before returning to Krakow. They will then make another marathon trip to Kiev to face Sweden four days later and end the group stage back in Donetsk against Ukraine on 19 June.

"Maybe England's management should talk to Uefa and change, because in Donetsk we have three excellent training camps, another in Kiev, and more in Kharkiv, so maybe they should do an exchange," said Kolesnikov.

"We may be a former Soviet country, but in terms of sports infrastructure ours is better than many in Europe."

Unlike England, who made their decision to stay in Krakow before the draw was made, Group D rivals Sweden had two training camp options, one in Kiev and another in Poland, which they have now cancelled.

Ukraine's ambassador to the UK, Volodymyr Khandogiy, told the BBC that England's decision made little sense.

"I don't feel offended. But from the pure logical point of view, logic tells you that you should stay in the city you're playing.

"From my point of view it's not logical. It's up to them. Sweden will stay in Kiev, France in Donetsk.

"It doesn't prevent England's fans from coming, but maybe the team will be too tired to play in Ukraine.

"I don't think they have looked. We can guarantee them the best of accommodation in Donetsk and Kiev. Donetsk is a football city, it has an academy and plenty of grounds."

For England fans who base themselves in Ukraine there will still be plenty of travelling, as Donetsk is 435 miles from Kiev. Supporters wishing to stay in Donetsk could also face problems due to a lack of facilities in the city.

Ukraine is hoping to introduce high-speed trains in time for the tournament that would halve the journey time between the two cities to less than five hours.

Student accommodation in Donetsk is also being refurbished and made available to fans, with camp sites created to prepare for the influx of supporters.

"Fans will be very surprised when they arrive in Ukraine," added Khandogiy. "We still have some time to go, and we have a very intense reconstruction process. Those people who have tickets, we will take care of them.

"It is very European, very relaxed, very hospitable and you don't need a visa to come. I want to rule out all the stories about something suspicious in Kiev. We can handle this."

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