Since UEFA president Michel Platini blasted hotel owners in Ukraine for alleged price gouging of fans intent on visiting for the 2012 Championships, officials there have been on something of a charming political rampage. Everything from guarantees of more rooms to cut rate airfares now garnish what should have always been a fair sports travel shake.
Ukraine and Poland, hosting the 2012 UEFA Championships, this is a huge deal for both countries. Billions having been spent to pave the way for a massive influx of fans, real earth being turned upside down to make both countries suitable for the coming onslaught of media and new visitors, and Ukraine hotel owners take it upon themselves to try and pull off a bit of highway robbery? What a PR nightmare! Platini called them “bandits and swindlers”, and Ukraine President President Viktor Yanukovich slammed an order for his government to fix the problem.
Then, Boris Kolesnikov, Deputy Prime Minister overseeing preparations for UEFA 2012, announces that his government will promote low cost air travel in order to pressure hotels to cut their rates? Now get this. In a stroke of what has to be called brutal genius, Kolesnikov announces a deal with RyanAir to fly in fans daily, versus paying some Ukraine hotel skalleywag their extortion fee. Kolesnikov was quoted by Reuters:
“We are finalising an agreement with Ryanair on its entry to the Ukrainian market and all fans will be able to compare the cost of flying in for every game with the cost of staying in Ukraine.”
Now there’s the sort of proactive leadership the world needs. Talk about seeing a wrong (or stupidity) and righting it! Maybe Kolesnikov should be in charge of the EU altogether? No beurocratic red tape, no political jockeying, just fix the problem. Now, if anyone wants to catch the finest football action on the planet, and then be back home in time for breakfast, BINGO! Spend the extra cash on the kids, a trip to the beach this Summer. Heck, get two vacations for the price of one.
So you know, the cheapest hotel room in Lviv for the match between Germany and Portugal on June 9, is listed as $250 bucks per night on the UEFA site. No doubt RyanAir can beat that price from Frankfurt Hahn, and then some. In a lightning stroke Yanukovich’s administration has both punished and reconciled Ukraine’s greedy business people and the world’s football fans respectively. Brilliant. Stay tuned for Lviv hotel prices to drop dramatically.