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Ukraine's business community laments lack of football fans

Ukraine's business community laments lack of football fans
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There might be football fever over the Euro 2012 tournament but local businesses in Ukraine are in a cold sweat for a different reason.

After the first week, local hotels have reported that they have only been 25-30 per cent full, and some camp-sites are still half-empty.

Managers at the Lytvynivka fan-zone near Kiev say that only 300 people are staying, even though they have room for 3,000.

One Swedish fan said: “I think it’s easier for fans to get to Warsaw, Poland because it’s closer to Germany, France and Italy. Ukraine is further away so it’s harder to get here.”

An English supporter told euronews: “I think one of the reasons (more England fans have not come) is transport. The Ukrainian railway service has said for a long time that there would be high-speed trains. Everyone was waiting to find out when these would come in and it was about a week before we came when the tickets and the prices were announced.”

In the interim, many businesses are complaining that they are spending more than they are earning.

Our correspondent in Kyiv Angelina Kariakina reported: “UEFA expects around 800,000 fans to visit Ukraine throughout the championship, but it’s a different story according to the Ukrainian Hostel Association. Their figures suggest it’s less than half that, more like 350,000. The exact numbers will only become clear after the tournament comes to an end.”