By Ria Novosti
The British government will boycott Euro 2012, citing concerns about justice in co-host country Ukraine, the UK Foreign Office said Thursday.
Senior politicians from Germany, France and the European Commission have all announced that they will not travel to Euro 2012 games in Ukraine, amid protests over the treatment of jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.
No British minister will attend England’s group stage games, which will all be held in Ukraine, while the strategy will be reviewed if England qualifies for the knockout stages, where they could play in Poland or Ukraine.
“No Ministers will be attending group games at Euro 2012,” a Foreign Office spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement.
“Widespread concerns about selective justice and the rule of law in Ukraine” prompted the boycott, the spokesperson said.
The boycott did not mean that the British government did not support the England team taking part, the spokesperson said.
“The Government fully supports England’s participation in Euro 2012. We hope this is a successful tournament for the England team, the fans and the people of Ukraine and Poland.”
Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison on charges of abusing her powers while serving as Ukraine’s prime minister, and has complained that she has been denied medical treatment and been beaten by guards in prison.
A group of her supporters hold a constant vigil on the central Maidan square in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, the scene of anti-government protests in 2003 and the center of the Kiev fan zone for Euro 2012.