Poland will need to lure 200,000 workers back from the UK and Ireland if it is to get stadiums and facilities ready for the 2012 European Football Championship.
The country won the bid to host the tournament together with the Ukraine, but economists have warned that work will need to be started straight away on the planning and building of the infrastructure. Poles living in the UK and Ireland, where many have gained experience on major construction projects, are expected to be the first to be targeted.
As well as stadiums, hotels and other tourist facilities, the Polish government has said it wants to use the event to make massive investments in transport infrastructure, including work on major roads and train stations and upgrades of railway lines.
Many Polish construction workers in the UK have said they would be happy to return home to work on Euro 2012. Workers have hinted they would willingly take lower wages or even work for free to help their country to prepare for the showpiece event. Paweł Pontowski, a Pole working in London, told a Polish paper: “As soon as the news was announced, [my colleagues] got together and decided we wouldn’t be staying in England much longer.
“The English are laughing and saying that, since all the Polish builders are here, there will be no-one to build the stadiums in Poland. But when they see how tens of thousands of Poles will just vanish, their smiles will disappear.”
The news is also expected to produce a boom in other local industries. Restaurant owners in the Polish capital Warsaw are reportedly preparing for a huge influx of tourists and football fans.