Despite the excitement surrounding the soccer action sure to come at this summer's EURO 2012 championships, Ukrainians are skeptical that the tourney will bring any economic gain for their country. DW takes a look.
Half of all Ukrainians are looking forward to their country co-hosting the 2012 EURO football championships with Poland this summer, according to a recent DW survey - based on interviews conducted in late April with 1,000 Ukrainians between the ages of 18 and 65. However, the proportion of the population that is critical of Ukraine hosting the tournament, 32 percent, is quite high and is mostly based on worries that the tournament won't lead to any economic gain.
Ukrainians between 18-29 years are most excited about the tournament, with around 60 percent looking forward to it. This trend was highest in the west of the country - near the border with Poland - and the center of Ukraine. In the east and southeast of the country, by contrast, only 44 percent said they were looking forward to EURO 2012.
According to the survey, less than half of the population thinks that Ukraine will see any lasting economic profit come from the tournament. Ukrainians are also divided over whether the tournament will benefit their country's image in the EU: Just under 40 percent said it would help Ukraine's image, 31 percent said it wouldn't and another 19 percent said the tournament would have no effect on Ukraine's image whatsoever.
Around half (49 percent) of those surveyed said the new stadiums and infrastructure projects that have been built will help Ukraine's image. Many Ukrainians also say they hope that interest in their culture will be awakened by the event, for instance in Ukrainian hospitality and zest for life (30 percent) or the many historical and cultural sights around the country (29 percent).
Reservations that the tournament will have an adverse effect on Ukraine's image abroad are primarily based on fears that accommodation would be lacking in quality. Another potential problem was price increases on the part of hotel owners and restaurateurs, a topic which has already received media coverage in Germany. Around 65 percent of those interviewed said the latter would be seen as problem by foreign guests.
Two other areas of concern were the usability of public transportation (32 percent) and day-to-day corruption in Urkaine. Around 20 percent said the latter could hurt their country's image.
Far less than half said their country would see any lasting economic gains. Around 34 percent said the tournament would help Ukraine in its process of modernization. More than half (54 percent) are skeptical of such a prognosis; almost three-quarters of those interviewed said they personally would see no benefit from EURO 2012.
Only around 7 percent said they were worried about the authoritarian political environment in Ukraine. This could be due to the fact that normal Ukrainians weren't aware of the criticism brewing over the treatment of former members of the government - including former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who remains in detention despite widespread calls for her release. A host of EU delegations say they will boycott the tournament if Tymoshenko isn't released.