Belfast Telegraph

Ten firms hopeful of a role in Euro 2012 build up

Even if Northern Ireland's football team does not make it to Euro 2012, some of our leading construction firms are hoping to play a part in the tournament.

Ten construction, professional services and engineering companies are taking part in an Invest Northern Ireland initiative to explore opportunities in Poland, where £20bn is expected to be spent on infrastructure and sports venues between now and the finals.

Poland and Ukraine will jointly host the championships in 2012.

The local firms, including Graham Construction of Hillsborough and Cookstown's McAleer and Rushe, will be in Warsaw from June 6-10 for meetings with potential business partners also interested in sports infrastructure contracts.

In tandem with the Euro 2012 championships, the Polish Ministry of Sport and Tourism has launched a £50m national programme aimed at establishing over 2,000 new sports fields by 2012.

In addition to the main stadium projects, 16 new training and accommodation centres for football teams are to be built.

The allocated budget for the six stadia and surrounding infrastructure is estimated at £800m.

Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI's trade director, said: "Since joining the EU in 2004, Poland has benefited from generous funding.

"For instance, the Infrastructure and the Environment Operational Programme 2007-2013 aims to make Poland and its regions more attractive for investment by developing the technical infrastructure.

"The overall cost of the programme is more than £20bn.

"Much of the funding is aimed at construction and regeneration projects as well as environmental improvements and sharing best practice in innovation with Polish companies.

"Major projects are already under way in Warsaw, Gdansk, Wroclaw and Poznan.

"Our aim is to assist our companies to link up with major contractors which have won business for inclusion in their supply chains."