U.K. ministers will not attend the opening stages of the Euro 2012 soccer championship due to concerns about human rights in Ukraine.
The European Union has called for opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko to be freed from prison, after she was jailed for seven years over a gas accord she signed with Russia in 2009, when she was premier. EU commissioners and Swedish and Dutch officials have also said they’ll boycott the tournament, which is being co-hosted with Poland.
“The government fully supports England’s participation in Euro 2012,” the British Foreign Office said in an e-mailed statement today. “No ministers will be attending group games at Euro 2012. We are keeping attendance at later stages of the tournament 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.”
England plays all its three group matches in the tournament, which starts tomorrow, in Ukraine. The first game is against France in Donetsk on June 11.
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