PtG Article 30.04.2012

Threats of political boycott precede Euro 2012 in Ukraine

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel is planning a boycott of the Euro 2012 football tournament taking place in Ukraine in June unless the imprisoned opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko is released, and is urging her ministers to do the same, Der Spiegel reports. 

Tymoshenko, the former Prime Minister of Ukraine currently serving a seven year prison sentence charged with abuse of office, has begun a hunger strike after allegedly being physically assaulted by prison guards. 

Germany’s interior and sports minister, Hans-Peter Friedrich, has announced that he is ready to boycott the Germany versus Netherlands match in Kharkiv, the city where Tymoshenko is being held, if he is forbidden from visiting her beforehand.

Also the manager of Bayern Munich FC, Uli Hoeness, has added to the debate, calling on UEFA president Michel Platini to speak out against Ukraine’s authoritarian regime. 

"I very much hope that Michel Platini will express his opinion at the right time and place about this," he told Der Spiegel. He urged Germany's players to display their support for the regime's opposition. "I have faith in the players that they are intelligent enough to have an opinion about this and I would have respect for every player who took a public stance on this," he said.

Friday, four explosions in the Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk injured at least 27 people, adding to the chaotic scene ahead of the Euro 2012, which Ukrainian authorities hoped would draw many new tourists to the country.  

SOURCE: The Guardian