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Friday, June 08, 2012

Another day, another boycott

With the European Championships due to start today, it is beginning to look as if the football will be overshadowed by the many controversies surrounding the host country.

There is already apprehension about the racist reputation of some of the Ukrainian and Polish fans, now it seems that a number of Governments will be boycotting the event altogether because of Ukraine's human rights record.

The Telegraph says no UK ministers will be attending group stage matches in Ukraine because of the treatment of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko. Other European countries including Germany and France are following suit:

Tymoshenko was jailed for seven years last year after what his supporters claim was a show trial.

The former prime minister staged a hunger strike in April after photos appeared showing bruises on her body. She has accused prison guards of assaulting her.

A boycott is the right thing to do but surely this whole episode raises questions about the process of choosing host countries in the first place. Can footballing authorities continue to ignore valid human rights considerations in future?
I suspect the money was to good to refuse, after all Football these days is all about money not sport, bit like the Olympic games.
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