Stadium authorities in Polish Euro 2012 host city Wroclaw have received a green light for games at their brand-new arena, after resolving last-minute operating problems that forced a temporary closure.
"The stadium has been approved for use," Wroclaw’s mayor Rafal Dutkiewicz said in a statement announcing that building inspectors had given the thumbs up.
While the 42,700-capacity Municipal Stadium opened officially last November, hosting a friendly between Poland and Italy, problems with its pitch-spraying system last month forced a shutdown.
With the high-profile European championship looming, that was an embarrassment for co-hosts Poland, and the stadium management scrambled to get their house in order. The closure was also a blow to top-flight club Slask Wroclaw, who use the stadium, and were forced to return to their old ground in the city.
The official green light means that Slask, who stand third in Poland’s 16-club first division, will be able to play Sunday’s league match against stragglers Belchatow at the new stadium.
Workers are currently putting the finishing touches to the area around the stadium, with projects including a bus-park due to be complete within days.
On May 11, the running of the stadium is to be handed over formally to European football’s governing body UEFA for the duration of Euro 2012. Wroclaw is one of Poland’s four tournament host cities, along with the capital Warsaw, Poznan in the west, and the Baltic port of Gdansk.
During Euro 2012, Wroclaw will see Group A matches between the Czech Republic, Greece, Poland and Russia.
Poland’s co-host for the championships -- Europe’s largest football showcase -- is neighbouring Ukraine.
The four stadiums there are located in the capital Kiev, the western city of Lviv, Donetsk in the east, and Kharkiv in the northeast. The 16-nation tournament kicks off in Warsaw in June 8 and ends with the final on July 1 in Kiev.
Ashwin best among the current lot: Muralitharan
Muttiah Muralitharan and R Ashwin have played together for three seasons in the Indian Premier League for Team Chennai.
When Murali was calling the shots, Ashwin worked under him and by the end of the third season, when the Sri Lankan legend had to leave, the Chennai man was ready to take over.
And when Murali says Ashwin is the most promising among the current crop, it does mean a lot for the Indian offie.
"In a tournament like the IPL, adaptation holds the key. Ashwin has done that very well over the years and I feel he is the best among the current crop," Murali said about the Chennai bowler.
In this edition of the IPL, almost every match is going to the wire and the spin wizard feels: "This season is surely more competitive than the earlier ones. Halfway through the tournament, and there’s still no clear picture. Almost all sides have been performing really well. Only Team Hyderabad have lost all their matches so far, but even they may get themselves into reckoning if they win their remaining matches," said the Lankan on Thursday.
Speaking on the sidelines of the launch of ‘Pitch Vision’, a technology that uses sensors to give players accurate information about their performance and allows for match simulation techniques for batsmen as well as bowlers, the offie, however, refrained from commenting on Marlon Samuels’ action. "I’m not an umpire or a biomechanical expert to pass any judgement. It’s their job, so let’s leave it to them."
With Pune skipper Ganguly lashing out hard at those questioning teammate Samuels’ action, it only brings to mind the incident when captain Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga threatened to forfeit their ODI against England for calling Murali for throwing. "I think one can only call himself a skipper if he stands for his teammates and backs them to the hilt. It is expected of the captain to support the side in time of need," is how Murali put it.