- Associated Press - Thursday, April 19, 2012

KIEV, UKRAINE (AP) - Hotel owners in Ukraine have been persuaded to lower their rates after accusations of price gouging.

Markian Lubkivsky, head of the Euro 2012 organizing committee in Ukraine, said hotel and hostel prices are no longer “critically” inflated.

“Our strongest point was that if prices are sky high, then fans simply won’t come here,” Lubkivsky said. “And I think this point has worked.”

The statement comes days after Michel Platini urged Ukrainian authorities to prevent “bandits and crooks” from charging exorbitant prices for lodging.

Ukraine co-hosts Euro 2012 with Poland from June 8 to July 1. Some hotels in the country were charging up to 10 times their normal rates while others were canceling reservations made months in advance.

Lubkivsky promised that fans coming to Ukraine will be able to find a range of accommodations, including such low-cost options as two-star hotels, hostels and camp sites.

UEFA officials have said that lowering hotel prices remains the biggest obstacle in organizing the tournament. Critics say price gouging would portray Ukraine as a greedy country and may hurt its tourism industry for years. The government is trying to boost tourism to help the country’s struggling economy.