Ministers sit out Euro games

The Foreign Office have said that no ministers will be attending any Euro 2012 group games amid concerns about "selective justice and the rule of law in Ukraine".

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British Government ministers will not be attending England's group matches

Foreign Secretary William Hague said today that the Government will decide whether to attend the latter stages of the tournament.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said today that the Government will decide whether to attend the latter stages of the tournament. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images

No British Government ministers will be attending England's Group D games in Donetsk and Kiev amid anger over the treatment of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.

The move comes after other European countries including Germany and France announced that senior politicians would boycott games played in Ukraine, which is co-hosting the event with Poland, unless the human rights situation under President Viktor Yanukovych improved.

Today, Mr Hague said the Government would not make a decision on whether ministers would attend matches in the latter stages of the tournament until it was known whether England had successfully negotiated its group.

He said: "We have concerns about Ukraine. It's possible for the Ukrainian government to improve the situation. If we get to the latter stages, we will announce what we will do then.

"We are not laying down specific conditions but if there is an improvement, we will know improvement when we see it."

FA: No officials at Euro group games 'a matter for the Government'

The FA's Director of Communications Adrian Bevington said he was looking forward to Euro 2012 but said the Foreign Office's decision not to send any officials to the group games was "a matter for the Government".

Euro 2012 England
Adrian Bevington. Credit: David Davies/PA Wire

When asked about the Foreign Office's decision today, he said: "That's a matter for the Government, I can't really pass an opinion on that.

"What I can say is that we are very much playing our part in this tournament and looking forward to travelling to Donetsk and then Kiev for our second game and then back to Donetsk for the third game."

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Labour backs Government not attending Euro 2012 group games

The case of Yulia Tymoshenko casts a real shadow over Ukraine.

The circumstances of her trial and the treatment she is receiving in custody are matters of grave concern that must be immediately addressed.

It is right that UK ministers will not be attending the Championships and the Government should take care that none of their actions over the next few weeks are seen to endorse the conduct of the Government of Ukraine.

– Douglas Alexander, Shadow Foreign Secretary

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Foreign Office: No ministers will attend Euro 2012 group games

The Foreign Office have said that no ministers will be attending any Euro 2012 group games amid concerns about "selective justice and the rule of law in Ukraine".

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.

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.

– Foreign Office spokesperson

David Cameron has previously criticised Ukraine over their treatment of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko and Amnesty International has called for her "immediate release" from prison.

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