Sports and politics are often a bad mix as some of the world’s major sporting events suffer when politicians use them as a way to get across their political ideas. For instance, several nations have boycotted the Olympics over the years due to political beliefs.
Unfortunately, the Euro 2012 football tournament, being co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine, could be the next to suffer. Some European politicians have been discussing a possible boycott of the tournament due to the seven-year prison sentence that Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister of Ukraine, is now serving. Euro 2012 is believed to be the biggest sports betting event this year.
It’s been reported that several Western European nations believe Tymoshenko’s trial was politically motivated. Great Britain could be one of these nations as numerous UK ministers said they will boycott the tournament as a way to protest Tymoshenko’s sentence and her treatment in jail. The English Football Association said it’s up to the ministers to decide for themselves if they want to attend the games or not.
The situation is under review in Britain, but Jose Manuel Barroso, the of the EU Commission, and several other European leaders have already said they won’t attend the games in Ukraine, which is where England’s three group games are to take place. It’s believed that German president Joachim won’t attend the event as well as Werner Faymann, the chancellor of Austria.
Tymoshenko on Hunger Strike
Tymoshenko was jailed for abusing her power after going to trial last October. She was then photographed with injuries which were allegedly suffered while in jail and attempted to go on a hunger strike during the last week of April. It’s believed that Ukraine’s parliament will soon be investigating Tymoshenko’s treatment.
William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary, said the UK is disturbed over some of Ukraine’s’ recent trials and will be monitoring the current situation before deciding on whether or not the nation’s ministers will show up for Euro 2012. Tymoshenko said she was sentenced because she’s a political rival of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and it was simply an act of revenge.
Tymoshenko was recently allowed to seek hospital treatment in the city of Kharkiv, but officials wouldn’t allow her to leave the country for medical attention. She is believed to be suffering from back pain with doctors reportedly saying she has a herniated spinal disc. Doctors from Germany who recently examined her asked the Ukrainian government to let her receive treatment outside of the country based on basic humanitarian grounds.
“Boycott inappropriate” – Komorowski
Not everybody agrees with calls for a Euro 2012 boycott though and Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski said it’s inappropriate. He said high-ranking officials have been convicted in many different countries over the years and it hasn’t led to the boycott of other major events. However, he did admit that the Moscow and Beijing Olympics were boycotted by some nations due to political reasons.
He added that Euro 2012 is supposed to allow Poland and Ukraine to show how the two nations have integrated themselves into the Western world and to show how the countries now celebrate freedom and democracy. Komorowski also shot down any talk of moving some of the Euro 2012 games to different locations.
To Sum it Up: Who Cares Really?
As far as most football fans go, they don’t really care if the politicians show up as long as the teams do…
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