Government ministers have confirmed plans to boycott England’s matches at the Euro 2012 tournaments in Ukraine.
Government ministers have confirmed plans to boycott England’s matches at the Euro 2012 tournaments in Ukraine. This action is being taken in response to the treatment of the country’s opposition figure Yulia Tymoshenko.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said according to a report from the BBC that no officials would be present at England’s group games. According to a report from The Guardian, a spokesperson for the Foreign Office said that attendance at later stages of the tournament, which began on June 8th, was ‘under review in the light of ministers’ busy schedules ahead of the Olympics and widespread concerns about selective justice and the rule of law in Ukraine’.
‘The government fully supports England’s participation in Euro 2012,’ a spokesperson for the Foreign Office said according to a report from The Guardian. ‘We hope this is a successful tournament for the England team, the fans, and the people of Ukraine and Poland.’
Foreign Secretary William Hague said according to the BBC that there were serious problems in Ukraine and did not want to convey to officials in the country that their support of the England team was the approval of the actions taken place by the country against Tymoshenko. It had been the original intention for the Sports Minister Hugh Robertson to be in attendance that the game, but officials at the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport told the BBC that he had been pre-occupied with duties leading up to London hosting the Olympics later this summer.
However, Robertson told the Guardian that he was hopeful he would attend. ‘I hope to go, is the honest answer,’ Robertson said. ‘I hope to support British teams and support British sport. Given the economic backdrop and the weight of what’s in the diary, it’s unlikely we’ll make it during the group stages. It effectively takes two days out of the diary and we haven’t really got two days. We’re keeping it under review and we’ll look at it very closely if we progress through to the qualifying stages.’
Labour has welcomed the move. Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said that the move was just in response to the actions taken by Ukraine. ‘It is right that UK ministers will not be attending the championships and the government should take care that none of their actions over the next few weeks are seen to endorse the conduct of the government of Ukraine,’ Alexander said according to the BBC.
England drew 1 – 1 with France in their first qualifying match of the tournament on June 11th in Donetsk, located in the eastern part of the country. England’s next game is against Sweden in the capital Kiev on June 15th, they will then return to Donetsk on June 19th to play Ukraine.