KYIV: Michel Platini leads UEFA’s Champions League new season celebrations in Monaco on Thursday and Friday — after having only just wrapped up last season with a formal ‘thankyou’ to Ukraine for the country’s successful co-hosting of Euro 2012.

Platini, president of the European federation, met Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych and the country’s football federation leader Grigoriy Surkis to express UEFA’s gratitude to the country’s people, government and football authorities for their work.

He said: “It is a great pleasure for me to return here two months after the wonderful tournament. I came here to officially thank Viktor Yanukovych, Grigoriy Surkis, UEFA’s operations director Martin Kallen and their respective teams who helped to stage the European Football Championship. It was an outstanding tournament. We saw great players, plenty of great goals and great refereeing.”

Platini said UEFA was continuing to receive positive feedback about the tournament in Poland and Ukraine from all over the world. He emphasised that UEFA’s decision to stage the tournament in Ukraine had been the right one, and also presented Yanukovych with a replica of the Henri Delaunay Cup, the UEFA European Championship trophy.

Yanukovych said: “We are thankful to UEFA president personally, and to the entire Union of European Football Associations for the support and trust which accompanied us in preparations for the final stage of Euro2012.

“We did everything to ensure that the festival could happen. All the infrastructure built in Ukraine will remain after the tournament, and it will serve many generations of Ukrainians. They will drive on new roads, live in new hotels, play at wonderful stadiums, and use modern airports.”

Monaco on Thursday sees the draw for the group stages of the 2012-13 Champions League with the draw for the Europa League on Friday, followed by the UEFA Supercup duel between Chelsea  and Atletico de Madrid.


# # # #