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Ukrainians launch hosting project for Euro 2012
After bad press, Ukrainians offer free rooms, help for Euro 2012 fans
By The Associated Press

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) ' A group of Ukrainian activists has launched a project to provide free accommodation, translation and other services to foreign guests attending the Euro 2012 football championship following criticism of the prices being charged by many hotels.

The Friendly Ukraine initiative unites several Web sites and offers such things as rooms, airport pickups and guided tours to football fans free-of-charge.

Program coordinator Viktoria Svitlova said Monday the aim is to show Ukraine is a friendly and hospitable country.

UEFA President Michel Platini has called on the government to stop "bandits and crooks" from ripping off fans. Still, there aren't enough hotel rooms and some fans will have to live in camps and Soviet-era student dormitories.

Critics worry the publicity will damage Ukraine's reputation.

The tournament, jointly held with Poland, begins June 8. Ukraine is hosting the final July 1.

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