In June, 1941 Operation Barbarosa caught the Soviet Union by suprise, and the Nazis invaded the East and after a struggle surrounded then captured the Ukranian capital of Kiev.
The city was home to one of the most successful football teams in Europe, Dynamo Kiev. They struggled to play during the occupation as many fit Ukranians were treated like animals and hauled off to labour camps. They had to change their name to F.C. Start and were challenged by The Luftwaffe XI a few times, and always won. Shades of Escape to Victory. Trusevich was their captain and owned a bakery where many were employed or got extra food from,and in their final match against the fit and well fed Germans, with the referee an SS Officer, they won once again. The history and struggles of the team and their quest for survival are told in the book Dynamo, Defending the Honour of Kiev, by Andy Dougan, which you should read. Available from www.amazon.com and elsewhere.
The news that the joint bid from Poland and Ukraine had won the right to host the 16 team 2012 European Football Championships was read out in French by M. Michel Platini the recently crowned President of UEFA at a meeting in Cardiff, Wales. They received 8 votes on the first ballot to 4 for expected victor Italy, and none for the other bid from Hungary/Croatia. In 2008 the tournament will be in Austria/Switzerland.
It was a triumph for the new 'Inclusive' policy of Platini's administration, and a shock to Italy, twice hosts of World Cups in 1934 and 1990 and a previous host of the UERO's. Corruption scandals, thuggish police behaviour and fan violence did them in. It's nice to see a new horizon for the competition and is further in scope than the shock defeat of Spain's bid against little Portugal for the 2004 championships.
Both countries need massive stadium and infrastructure work across the area, more than 1,000 miles across. The Opening match and ceremony will be in Warsaw, Poland's capital, with Gdansk, Poznan and Wroclaw as the other cities, with Krakow and Chorzow in reserve.
The final will be in the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, with three other cities such as Donetsk, Lviv, and Dnipropetrovsk hosting matches. The Olympic Stadium was so named because it held matches during the Moscow Olympics of 1980 when it was part of the Soviet Union.
Poland is now part of the European Union and no visas are needed and lots of inexpensive flight from Western Europe with EasyJet, RyanAir, Jet2, WizzAir and more. You still need to pay $100.00 for a Ukranian visa but hopefully that will change soon, and probably cheaper airlines flights. Keep looking on www.attitudetravel.com
Beyond the Curtain:Travels in Eastern European Football by Jonathan Wilson is an interesting read as are the web sites of UEFA www.uefa.com, Polish F.A. www.pzpn.pl, and Ukranian F.A. www.ffu.org.ua all of which have an English language section and UEFA's site has one in French so Michel can read what's going on.
Rules for new students at US colleges. NO smoking, its dangerous to your health; NO drinking until 21; No use of deoderants and perfumes-some students are allergic; NO use of prophanity-it may cause offence; NO shorts or dresses above the knees-it may embarass Muslim students. However IF you are carrying weapons go to the student store and buy gun cases and holsters in university colors and with logos and mascots to show your pride in the college. Buy 2 rifle cases with shoulder straps and get one attractive hand gun zippered case for free. We also sell ammunition with the school logos and they will not be packed in pork grease, so as not to offend our muslim or hindu 'brothers'. Remember, you are ONLY entitled to purchase one fire arm per month in the State of Virginia.