Fri, May 04, 2012
Sports > Soccer

EU officials to boycott Ukraine's Euro 2012 football matches

2012-05-04 13:17:07 GMT2012-05-04 21:17:07(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BRUSSELS, May 4 (Xinhua) -- European Commissioner responsible for sport Androulla Vassiliou said on Friday that she would join some other senior European Commission officials to boycott Euro 2012 football championship (UEFA) in Ukraine next month.

The decision was made "in response to concerns over the political situation in Ukraine," Vassiliou said in a statement, referring to the reportedly abuse against former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Vassiliou followed the suit of European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and justice commissioner Viviane Reding, along with a number of European leaders who stated they may boycott the tournament if the conditions of Tymoshenko do not improve.

In her statement, Vassiliou said she shared these concerns, and would not to attend any UEFA matches in Ukraine in capacity as the European Commissioner responsible for sport, but she may attend one of the matches taking place in Poland as a sport fan.

Tymoshenko, 51, a main Ukrainian opposition leader who is serving her seven-year sentence in a prison, declared a hunger strike in April in the wake of an alleged assault by prison guards leaving her black and blue. She has reportedly been suffering from severe back pains since her conviction in October 2011.

On Thursday, Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin said Russia would be ready to accept Tymoshenko for medical treatment, but rejected calls from the European leaders to boycott the tournament, saying that "no one should mix politics, business and other issues with sports."

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