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UK government snub is major blow to Ukraine

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David Bond | 17:59 UK time, Thursday, 7 June 2012

The Foreign Office's decision to take a hard line on Ukraine by announcing a ministerial boycott of England's Euro 2012 group matches is a significant moment.

It also represents a major shift in attitude. Just last week I was being told the Foreign Office didn't believe in using sport to make political points.

In fact the Foreign Secretary William Hague, a close friend of double Olympic champion and London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe, told me in an interview recently that we should celebrate sport for sport's sake.

Something has clearly changed and it will be interesting to see if more European countries now announce their intention to snub Ukraine.

William Hague

Foreign secretary William Hague has decided against sending officials to the Ukraine. Photo: Getty

Other European leaders, including the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have already criticised the Ukrainian government's treatment of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko and indicated they would probably not be going to matches.

Although it's worth noting there was serious doubt about whether Sports Minister Hugh Robertson's diary would have allowed him to attend the group stages, the Foreign Office statement - highlighting what it calls "selective justice" in Ukraine - is another blow to the country's reputation on the eve of this tournament.

The fall out from last week's BBC Panorama investigation into racism in Ukrainian football is still being felt and while the four stadiums selected for the Euros are impressive, the country's preparations have been beset by problems and delays.

Many commentators are already questioning why the British government has chosen to make an example of Ukraine when it has turned a blind eye to other oppressive regimes hosting mega sports events. Why Ukraine in 2012 and not Beijing and China in 2008?

Whatever one thinks of the boycott - and it will be interesting to see if ministers hold the line if England defy expectations and advance to the knock-out phase here - it comes with considerable risk.

With the London Olympics only 50 days away the decision could lead to retaliatory boycotts from Ukraine and its allies - not least Russia, whose relationship with the UK is already strained.

London and the UK government may be prepared to accept whatever now develops as the price one pays for making a stand.

But the other question is whether those principles will now extend to banning the head of the Syrian Olympic Committee, General Joumma, who is said to have close connections to the country's leader, President Assad.

So far the government says he hasn't applied to come to the Games but if he does then he will be subject to the usual checks run on all those applying for Olympic accreditation, with anyone considered undesirable told they will not be welcome.

By announcing their Euro 2012 boycott the Government has - in part at least - answered one big sporting question. But they've raised a whole load more.


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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    It is unlikely to be a coincidence that this announcement comes when David Cameron is meeting Angela Merkel. I expect other European countries to follow the UK "lead".

  • Comment number 3.

    Non-story really. Considering the mess this country is in, ministers should be prioritising, not being seen at sporting events.

  • Comment number 4.

    Sporting Events should unite people but politicians are using it to send political messages, such a shame.

  • Comment number 5.

    interesting that it's only group stages....if you believe in something, it doesn't matter how succesful the English team is. It's like saying if we make the final, to hell with our beliefs/ethics, we just want to go and have a good time.

  • Comment number 6.

    What do you mean "if England defy expectations and advance to the knock-out phase"?

    Who's expectations are you referring to? The BBC football pundits widely predicted England to get out of the group stage.

    What is it with all the negative views Bond?

    Why do you want England to fail?

  • Comment number 7.

    with the way Mr. Bond was pwned by Monsiour Platini during that interview conducted recently, i would hope that he would have moved on from the racism issue. Obviously not. i think Platini made very prescient points anyways.

    it's generally bad enough when nations already disliked by the world rub the face of sports into it, but now our government wants to try and 'look' good by adopting a stance that may or may not look good, depending on what happens in Pol/Ukr. it would be rather ironic if nothing were to happen and these politicians look as slimy as some of them are. but i supose there is always the 'principle' argument to defend them

    make less of a fuss about politicians at a sporting event and more of a fuss about the sportsmen and/or ladies present.

    thanks to all this i am not even looking forward to the tournament any more. i'll make do with the finish of the Dauphine and the cricket.

  • Comment number 8.

    At 6. The BBC can't win. It gets slaughtered for hyping England up and then get complaints when it says nothing is expected of them. I wish people would make up their minds

  • Comment number 9.

    It's not the first time this author writes a silly article.

  • Comment number 10.

    Bit defensive there dogeared!

    Regarding the topic at hand - racism has no place in sport and neither does politics!
    The phrase 'political football' comes to mind...

  • Comment number 11.

    We want England to fail because of the hypocrisy of claiming that Rio was omitted for footballing reasons. In the circumstances he had to be left out, but why can't the FA tell us the real reason?

  • Comment number 12.


    Well, the BBC me puke with their cynical, negative and patronising reporting.

    Especially when it comes to the England football team.

  • Comment number 13.


    Ah, we're back to that are we?

    Just what is the reason and who is to blame?

    Maybe instead of taking it out on the football team you should look at the decision not to prosecute Terry until after the tournament - that's where the real problem is.

  • Comment number 14.

    " Why Ukraine in 2012 and not Beijing and China in 2008?"

    Hold on lads, I think I might know this one. Is the answer money?

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    Who cares when you consider that only a small percentage of the population are football fans. The same with the Olympics, hype, spin and big business out to make money. Nothing to do with gamesmanship or sport.

  • Comment number 17.

    Ah yes, another blog to show why all the fuss is being made, all backed by the politicians....

    Rio, Terry are such small figures when the real story comes out to why the BBC was pushing this issue so much.

    Anyway i bet the Ukraine Government is so sad that political leaders wont be there watching a few games of football.....

    The plot thickens

    Politicians and Biased Media, please stay away from the beautiful game and give us mere mortals some chance to at least enjoy an event that comes only once in 4 years.

    Whats the chances this will get removed 10-1 on

  • Comment number 18.

    Wouldn't surprise me if no other countries follow our lead, and we'll end up looking stupid and being hated further, which will ultimately lead to a nil pois at eurovision next year.

    In terms of Rio not going to the Euro's, his own manager has said he can't play more than 1 game every four days, a requirement of international tournaments. Isn't that a good enough reason?

  • Comment number 19.

    Oh, poor things, BBC and the commenters! Now only Ukraine...And so far it has been both Poland and Ukraine showed as countries of racism. It is shame on you!
    Your biased action of black PR is the unique for the British journalism covering Euro 2012! Why did you cut off the interviews with Israeli players in Poland saying that they did not exeperience any racism during their stay in Poland from your Panorama film? Why on earth you do not show the smiling faces of ALL English players (white and black) walking down Krakow or fantastic welcome of the Irish team by 20,000 supporters just on their training? If you compare the tolerence in UK and in Poland/Ukraine, you must be in doubt remebering Birmingham riots or the British sport commentator live on TV on the black player or many others...I have always looked up BBC but now I am in serous doubt about your credibility. Every time I come on your site, you continue on purpose this black and shamful PR on Euro 2012. Shame on you!

  • Comment number 20.


    I think most people are waiting for the author to write something actually worth reading. Why is he not a political journalist, certainly is not a sports journalist....

  • Comment number 21.

    Ah the good old politics/sport issue... well if we arn't sending any politicians we are in fact keeping them out of the sport, which is good isn't it ;)

  • Comment number 22.

    It has nothing to do with racism in the Ukraine, more to do with persecution of the government opposition.
    But don't let the facts get in the way of a good rant.

  • Comment number 23.

    I just wish Ben Mir was the football journalist..... Or Give Tim the football chief job, but why would they ever want to leave there good respective sports for this.

    What ever happen to 22 players kicking a round ball and giving us good games without the pure circus that are really just scraping the droppings of cash that come from what was the best sport in the world, now its just a joke and will be more of joke as time goes on.

    Where are the days when Celtic won the european cup with a sqaud of local lads, or a Liverpool team that conquered Europe with a group of British lads or the players and managers that lived and died for one club.

  • Comment number 24.

    this is a complete nonsense! The British (or any other) government should not mix sport with politics. I feel sorry for Tymoszczenko, but her situation has nothing to do with Euro2012! WRONG Decision! Shame on you UK, shame on you!

  • Comment number 25.

    Of course no one will follow our lead. It'll be like the FIFA corruption scandal after the World Cup voting debacle, which was huge news in the UK but didn't even make the papers in much of the rest of Europe.

  • Comment number 26.

    ''UK government snub is major blow to Ukraine''....says David Bond (journalist)

    Strong source. Strong opinion. Strong subjectivity. Definitely sounds 100% legit to me.

    Seriously, everyone knows that the Euros is a mickey mouse tournament compared to the olympics. No-one really cares what obscure government officials will attend matches. What will be a blow to the host is if all the top teams crash out early and we're stuck with a snoozefest Croatia vs Greece final.

  • Comment number 27.

    So sad that this once great country of ours is constantly jumping onto its moral high horse. We really must stop preaching to the world about its rights and wrongs (are you listening UK Gov, Daily Mail, etc). We have problems with racism here too you know and plenty more besides.

    As for boycotting, all very well I suppose, except of course when the likes of Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Argentina and half the EU decide not to turn up at the Olympics this year because we have become such a pain in the backside to all and sundry.

    What will our moralistic goverment and disgraceful media say then?

  • Comment number 28.

    One more thing. You are saying that Ukraine is a racist country? Just look at yours first. Not only some British people are racist but also xenophobic. Do you remember the crazy lady on the bus that shouted racist comments? Should the rest of the world boycott and warn their citizens not to come to the Olympics because this is how they could be welcomed by the British people? Here is the reminder BBC and why don't you comment on this

  • Comment number 29.

    Ahh, cant beat a good political hijacking to ram issues down peoples throats. Hopefully, somewhere in all this political stance-making and corporate big business money making, a game of football might break out. You never know.

    I do know one thing though. Between big business, the government, and the treacherous nature of this country's media, these people are making me miserable.

    Just leave me along to enjoy my football. It's one of the few things I have left.

  • Comment number 30.

    Good to see 90% of the people that have commented didn't bother to read the article or, if they did, lack gray matter to understand what the boycott is over.

    It has nothing to do with the racism issue!!! Got that?! It is to do with the treatment of the opposition leader.

    Oh, and another thing...what was different between 2008 and 2012? Oh yeah, 2 completely different governments. Some people are just !d!ots.

  • Comment number 31.

    Well look our ministers talk about the pot calling the kettle black,the same ministers that are treating sick & disabled in this country so bad in last 2 years & even a few have die because it let see the sporting world politicians turn their backs on the Olympics.about the racism that better reason for not going.Our government say sport & politics don't mix but we talking this incompetent government who will use any situation for own interest

  • Comment number 32.

    Is it political or shame? The English team is the worst I´ve ever seen they just don´t want to be embarrassed.

  • Comment number 33.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 34.

    Selective and inconsistent: Ministers not attending Euro's but the BBC chooses the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix to launch their live 2012 coverage, the following week they create a hoopla surrounding the Bahrain GP ? Russia has imprisoned numerous political opponents but Hague was building bridges there last week.
    The UK took part in the Eurovision last week in Azerbaijan !

    The UK's supposed closest ally has admitted to using mental and physical torture ... and wait for it .... the UK knew about this and was complicit in these actions.

    I'm surprised any UK ministers have been invited to attend the Euro's !

  • Comment number 35.

    "Many commentators are already questioning why the British government has chosen to make an example of Ukraine when it has turned a blind eye to other oppressive regimes hosting mega sports events. Why Ukraine in 2012 and not Beijing and China in 2008?"
    1. The present Government is not a socialist government.
    2. The Coalition have forgotten that an oil pipeline runs from Russia through the Ukraine to the EU I daresay the EU premiers will remember in time and trim their sails accordingly.

  • Comment number 36.

    Wouldn't it be better if our infallible politicians went out there and investigated the truth for themselves or should we send Panarama or even David Bond to investigate it instead seeing how this is now a big story? Boycotts solve nothing when there is no money involved.

    I'm sick & tired of our media mis-representing us, they bring shame to our country with pointless articles trying to say we are better then the rest of the world when clearly we're not.

  • Comment number 37.


    "Absolutely disgraceful behaviour.
    Government? Your joking, this is like in Primary school."

    Perhaps if you'd been to primary school you'd know the difference between "your" and "you're" and wouldn't capitalise words seemingly at random.

    Your rant is puerile. You say you're 18 but you come across as much younger. You put "government" in quote marks, as if you somehow believe them not to be one.

    How would you have dealt with other racist institutions and nations? You're clearly not old enough to remember when most of the world boycotted South Africa because of its policy of apartheid. Perhaps we should have continued playing them in tacit support of their policy of segregation? Because that's what we'd have been doing, and it's what we'll be doing if we sent officials to Ukraine.

    Although that's not actually the point. The boycott of Ukraine is not to do with racism (so your John Terry and Suarez rant is misplaced) - it's to do with the treatment of Yulia Tymoshenko. All this nonsense you post about the "Government" [sic] buying into the racism stories is neither here nor there. Whether the Government does or doesn't believe the stories is irrelevant - they are boycotting Ukraine for a totally different reason.

    Had you read the news and the article perhaps you'd know that.

  • Comment number 38.

    I have a question, not sure if its out of place or anything, but.....


    please a blog about football, maybe Bond has been given his Chance while Mcnulty is groveling around the England team looking for a story to bring them down.

  • Comment number 39.

    "One more thing. You are saying that Ukraine is a racist country? Just look at yours first. Not only some British people are racist but also xenophobic. Do you remember the crazy lady on the bus that shouted racist comments?"

    Yes - she was sent to jail. That's the difference.

  • Comment number 40.

    why doesn't the Ukrainian government boycott the English matches in protest at the UK government's treatment of its own citizens

  • Comment number 41.

    Yet another lazy piece from David Bond who brought his colleague's so called document, in which Chris Rogers has broken probably every rule of professional journalism by manipulating quotes and omitting quotes which didn't fit his thesis, to the topic which has nothing to do with racism.

    However... Message to all xenophobic journalists in England, constantly portraying us Poles and them, Ukrainians as a bunch of uneducated, more stupid than you (Great Europeans), savages that don't know how to behave - don't be surprised tomorrow, because we are going to applaud Greece national anthem during pre-game ceremony. We do this every time.

    You might not be used to this but the difference between Polish and English fans is - while your fans boo during other countries' national anthems, we clap. That's what we call "Polish hospitality". Should we follow customs of English fans? No, thanks.

  • Comment number 42.

    I find it rather excellent that the FCO/Government are snubbing Ukraine. However, the much bigger picture here is consistency. If we snub them because of political considerations such as abuse of the rule of law, corruption, acceptance of racism, etc etc, then the UK should apply this stance to all other countries. Yet at the recent Jubilee a rogues's gallery of despots were made welcome following FCO advice. Get a grip you hypocrites, I say.

  • Comment number 43.

    "The Foreign Office's decision to take a hard line on Ukraine by announcing a ministerial boycott of England's Euro 2012 group matches is a significant moment."

    Or is this spin for "we know some of them will forget to declare the trip so it will cause the Tories more embarrassment"


    "We can't be seen at a football match when we can't even produce a budget that lasts longer than a couple of months"

    (though seems Osborne thought the Champions League final more important than doing so)

    Major snub ? Personally if I was the Ukrainians I would be grateful that no UK ministers will be there. I'm fully supportive of the BBC on a lot of issues but this smacks of a rewrite of a Tory press release. For example :

    "Although it's worth noting there was serious doubt about whether Sports Minister Hugh Robertson's diary would have allowed him to attend the group stages, the Foreign Office statement - highlighting what it calls "selective justice" in Ukraine - is another blow to the country's reputation on the eve of this tournament."

    Ooooh, I bet the Ukraine government are quaking in their boots. I don't agree with the Ukrainian policy in question but who, apart from government ministers looking for a soundbite, really believes that the Ukrainian government will change their policy just because we didn't send ministers to watch a football match. If the government wants to make a protest then they should call in the Ukrainian ambassador. I have a feeling that doing so when the Ukrainian's are playing would ruffle more feathers than a bunch of nobody's not turning up to a football match.

  • Comment number 44.

    @6 and the article writer - I agree with the principle that an England qualification from the group stages being a "defiance of expectations" makes no sense - we are not expected/expecting to win the tournament, but a rankings-based expectation system, not far from the only objective expectation system possible, would have England win Group D, as we are ranked higher than France, Sweden and Ukraine. I can't help but suspect that objectivity in the article writer has been compromised at best, defenestrated at worst. I disapprove of such.

  • Comment number 45.

    I agree with #30.

    Clearly this is a political decision but I’m not sure why people are so adverse to the idea of showing dissatisfaction with current Ukrainian government through this means.

    To me this decision is completely unrelated to racism or the fall out from the Panorama programme, which many of other comments do not have seem to of got past in this blog.

    The main issue is that Ukraine had slowly but surely been moving politically closer to the EU. By putting Tymoshenko away in what seems to be pretty dubious circumstances (and certainly what appears to be a long way from EU judicial standards), the Ukraine have given the EU a bit of slap in the face. Hence EU member states have reacted.

  • Comment number 46.

    Can someone tell me why, in footballing terms, this is a "significant moment".
    What does that mean anyway?
    So, Government officials won't be going to the Group stages.
    Because our MPs have more important matters to sort out, without swanning away to junkets at the tax payers expense.
    Politics and sport only mix if the politicians want it to.

  • Comment number 47.

    It annoys me when people complain about politicians here. Yes politics should be used with football here, because Tymoshenko is being treated awfully and we need to make some sort of stand.

    And to safcfan89 you say that "politicians should be prioritizing" instead of being seen at sporting events. What because the problems at home need to be solved first? yeah fair enough, but having a few politicians going to events held in foreign countries, is not going to have a negative impact on the UK. Foreign relations are important, hence the significance of representatives not going to Ukraine.

    Sorry, it just annoys me when politicians get a lot of stick when not a lot of people nowadays have a clue what it is they actually do for us.

  • Comment number 48.

    @28 anna miami

    Did you read the article at the top of this page? Its about the Ukrainian government's treatment of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko...not racism. So like most people on this blog, it seems to appear that you misread! Please dont divert from what is up for discussion here.

  • Comment number 49.

    Are we EVER going to stop telling other countries how to run their affairs?

    Agreed, this boycott is about civil liberties in Ukraine, not racism. But we quite happily trade with countries whose abuse of civil liberties is worse than Ukraine.

    The government should stop playing politics with sport, and stop lecturing other countries.

    And the BBC needs to stop falling for this stuff. Stick to the football, leave the politics to politicians.

  • Comment number 50.

    18.At 19:33 7th Jun 2012, james0002 wrote:
    Wouldn't surprise me if no other countries follow our lead,

    Follow our lead ?

    Before all this Durão Barroso the EU commision president and Angela merkel have said they would boycott Euro 2012. Also the French goverment had written to FIFA and UEFA asking to move the tournament elsewhere.

  • Comment number 51.

    I am a Brit, lived and worked for a British company in Ukraine for 3 years and had many extremely well educated and intelligent local staff working with me. Not one, not one (!) had a good word to say about the lady Tymoshenko who is in jail because she deserves to be. Most Ukrainians acccept that she was caught fairly and is in prison where she should be but most Europeans see a blonde attractive lady who is being persecuted. Not me and any of our staff.

    The British Gov't is playing the same naive game as most Europeans and should talk to ordinary Ukrainains, the vast majority of whom are NOT racists, no more so than certain people and places in the UK.

    She is a very clever lady who has made squillions over time and is NOT the martyr everyone thinks she is. Ukraine is a fantastic country, loved the people and living there.

    Grow up everyone and see what the lady is playing here!

  • Comment number 52.

    25.At 19:41 7th Jun 2012, Culo wrote:
    Of course no one will follow our lead.

    The Ukraine has already had to postpone one political summit in May because other countries boycotted it.

  • Comment number 53.

    Who cares about all this. Lets all just get behind England and leave all the other rubbish that goes on in the world to them!

  • Comment number 54.

    sports and politics should not mix they it surprising though? they are both driven largely by money, personal interests and fooling your followers!
    some may say they are perfect for each other. Two institutions that seem to forget why they were created.

  • Comment number 55.

    A good blog spoiled as so often by a very misleading headline. Any Uk boycott, on its own, will have zero impact on Ukraine and, to pretend it will, hugely overstates Uk influence. A wider European boycott would be another matter though, as the article says.

    Can the BBC please find some headline writers who can actually reflect what the blogger is saying, instead of sensationalising or distorting it.

  • Comment number 56.

    51.At 21:17 7th Jun 2012, northpole135 wrote:

    I am not an expert on the proceedings, it seems that Tymoshenko had a murky past but came clean about it a while back.

    Russia , USA , and most European countries calling for her release does not influence me that much. But when foreign ambassadors for human rights are refused visits and Amnesty International are calling "foul" I tend to sit up and pay attention.

  • Comment number 57.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 58.

    Such tripe.

    The only people that actually care if the politicians attend are the politicians.

    What should have been done is obvious - the tournament should never have gone there in the first place. But then, UEFA will yap about sport not being political - as if that was ever the case. Sport and politics go hand in hand - its only idiotic clowns that don't see that.

  • Comment number 59.

    Tymoshenko has never come clean about anything, other than that she is being unfairly persecuted and made her squillions "honestly". Ask most Ukrainians what they think of that. I cannot believe the naievity of governments who are calling for her release, including the US, when most Ukrainians think otherwise. She is a VERY clever lady who is playing a blinder, the classic blonde martyr who wears white. Why? Work it out. Even Amnesty International are being dupde by a very clever machine. But most Ukrainians think she's where she should be and that her apparent injuries may not be what they seem...

  • Comment number 60.

    Jonathan Ornstein, executive director of the Jewish centre in Krakow, told The Economist: “As an American-born Jew living happily and safely in Poland, I am furious at the way the BBC has exploited me as a source.

    “The organisation used me and others to manipulate the serious subject of anti-Semitism for its own sensationalist agenda; in doing so, the BBC has insulted all Polish people. I have reason to believe the BBC similarly misrepresented the black African football players it used as sources in the same programme.

    “Moreover, the BBC knowingly cheated its own audience – the British people – by concocting a false horror story about Poland. In doing so, the BBC has spread fear, ignorance, prejudice and hatred.”

  • Comment number 61.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 62.

    No politicians at Euro 2012? My heart bleeds. They have no business going anywhere near sports events. Makes me sick when I see their smug faces at the world's top tournaments.

    Having said that I think there's more to this than the Tymoshenko issue, although the politicians will never own up to it. The underlying message might also be that there's a racism issue that we find distasteful.

    I lived in Poland for 7 years and life is very different there and more so Ukraine. Both countries still suffer from a communist hangover and stepping out of line is tolerated far less and treated harshly. For example, possession of cannibis will land you up to 5 years in prison, no argument. So, treating signifcant figures the way Ukraine is doing is not a massive shock. The point is that we can't go judging these countries with our different western European values. Of course, Tymoshenko os being treated terribly but what goes on in China and why didn't the UK boycott the Olympics? We all know.

    The politicians can go around huffing & puffing all they want but Pol/Ukr were given the competition not only to put on a football tournament but also to help them as a whole. When I left Poland last year, there was a lot of reconstruction all over the country and it was badly badly required. The people will be right up for the event and are keen to show that they can do like any other western European country.

    There is racism in Polish & Ukrainian football. It is a fact but it is nothing like you have all been led to believe. I went to a number of Polish matches and most of the top teams have at least 2 or 3 non-white players and I never heard one piece of racist abuse. We must be careful: where was Euro 96 held and how many black players over the years have been abused by both fans and opposition players? England has had the same problem for decades and I don't recall any other country saying that they weren't going to that competition.

    Finally, Pol/Ukr 2012 will be a success and there will be no abuse of black players. The authorities will be all over it if in the unlikely event that it does. So England, sit back relax and watch the team lose on penalties in the semi-final!

  • Comment number 63.

    57.At 21:38 7th Jun 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:
    she's a bit of a MILF, though, isn't she?
    I have no objection in volunteering to be the knight in shining armour - scaling the formidable buttresses in deepest, darkest Ukraine - and rescuing this damsel in distress

    I cant really picture you as Tom Cruise in mission impossible , probably more like Shaggy out of Scooby Doo :)

  • Comment number 64.

    Adam Easton, BBC correspondent in Warsaw also labeled Panorama from his employer as a "sensationalist" and biased. It's beyond me really how Chris Rogers could not ask his fellow associate who knows much more about the issue before he has produced this film.

  • Comment number 65.

    I have no opinion on whether the boycott is right or wrong, and accept that this is politically significant enough for the BBC to cover.

    But it means nothing in the sporting sense, so I'm unsure why the sports editor is the one writing about this. If Andy Murray reaches the Wimbledon final this year, and David Cameron, Nick Clegg or Alex Salmond happen to attend, is Nick Robinson going to write the BBC's review of the final?

    On a sort of related note, the first I knew about George Osbourne being at the Champions League final was after the Chelsea players had received their medals.

  • Comment number 66.

    So in the run up to a major tournament we get blogs on the politics of the tournament and not the football.

    Racism in Poland, Ukraine and one political boycott.

    I look forward to the BBC running blogs in the run up to the Olympics advising visitors not come because of endemic racism and sectarianism in the UK and lauding the views of foreign governments who object to Britain's military role in Iraq and other places. Did foreign governments boycott Euro 96 when Britain was still holding 'political' prisoners in Ireland?

  • Comment number 67.

    I repeat what Jonathan Ornstein, executive director of the Jewish centre in Krakow said to the Economist: "the BBC has spread fear, ignorance, prejudice and hatred.” He claims that BBC Panorama journalised used and manipulated him. This is a serous accusation of the of The Jewish Centre. BBC goes for cheap sensation and thus spreads "fear, ignorance, prejudice and hatred."

  • Comment number 68.

    Hypocritical politicians?

    They should join in a BBC football blog 'debate' - they'd find themselves in good company.

  • Comment number 69.

    50. At 21:12 7th Jun 2012, repo wrote:
    18.At 19:33 7th Jun 2012, james0002 wrote:
    Wouldn't surprise me if no other countries follow our lead,

    Follow our lead ?
    Yes indeed, quite funny that.

    This is the same government who have issued guidelines on racism in the host countries, yet have tried to sweep the misdemeanours of a blue eyed crony in cahoots with a certain media mogul under the carpet whilst ordering an investigation into the expenses claims of an Asian female party member.

    57. At 21:38 7th Jun 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:

    Still: she's a bit of a MILF, though, isn't she?

    I have no objection in volunteering to be the knight in shining armour - scaling the formidable buttresses in deepest, darkest Ukraine - and rescuing this damsel in distress.
    There are some people on here that would have us believe you are not in possession of a passport though.

  • Comment number 70.

    62.At 21:56 7th Jun 2012, feefferish wrote:
    Finally, Pol/Ukr 2012 will be a success

    Financially it may suffer !
    From the reported estimations England have only sold 9000 tickets out of the 240000 allocated for the group games.
    If other countries follow a similar suit a lot of money will be lost in income from hotels , bars, transportation , and restaurants , apart from the ticket money.

  • Comment number 71.


    the lady is a bow wow, thank the lord there's always one who would rescue some stray dog.

  • Comment number 72.

    Sorry I typed an extra zero , should be 24000 :)

  • Comment number 73.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 74.

    Well it's yet another sickening article from the BBC. What has happened to our broadcasting in this country?

    Firstly, it's no wonder nobody is talking about football when that article has been loaded with so many bait comments designed purely to enrage the readership.

    Terrible journalism if it can even be called that!

    Secondly, does anybody actually want to discuss football? Politics is my day job the last thing I want to do in the evenings is chat about it with a bunch of people with nothing but misled opinions to add. Sorry but from the 18 yr old student to patches the resident troll nobody on here has presented anything in terms of useful additions to the political arguments.

    So please let's get back to the agenda of FOOTBALL if anybody can even remember what that is.

    POLAND v GREECE 5pm. I say 2-0 to the Poles, with Szscsny in goal and Lewandowski upfront suddenly they are looking pretty useful.

    Greece on the other hand are the same old Greece. If they survive the group stages I will be very surprised! What a shame our scumbag government suits aren't attending what a shame indeed lol

  • Comment number 75.

    71.At 22:22 7th Jun 2012, Londoner in exile returns wrote:
    the lady is a bow wow, thank the lord there's always one who would rescue some stray dog.

    Huh ?
    I thought she looked in quite good nick for a 52 year old :)

  • Comment number 76.

    This government talk democracy yet here is the state-owned broadcaster removing post criticising the government's position. Hypocrisy in the extreme.

  • Comment number 77.

    Political issues aside I really think in a middle of a recession we should not be wasting money by sending some junior minister on a jolly halfway across Europe.

  • Comment number 78.

    74.At 22:29 7th Jun 2012, CommonSensei wrote
    Politics is my day job

    You are just jealous because you were not voted the 3rd most influencial woman in world politics and one of the most beautiful females in power :)

    By the way , Poland 1 - 2 Greece.

  • Comment number 79.

    The Ukraine should never have been given this tournament, same goes for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. High levels of corruption and a blatent lack of human rights should be factors in awarding tournaments, which they clearly aren't at present. As for Russia or the Ukraine boycotting the 2012 Olympics, they won't be missed if they do....

  • Comment number 80.


    Strange way to finish your plea to keep it football???

  • Comment number 81.

    Dan Roan
    By announcing their Euro 2012 boycott the Government has - in part at least - answered one big sporting question.

    Err - excuse my ignorance but what is that ?

  • Comment number 82.

    I think this title is misleading, mainly because people outside of this country generally see us as a bit of a joke anyway.

    Regardless, to the football at hand Poland 2 - 0 Greece, Lewandowski is in my dream team.

  • Comment number 83.


    Where do we stop? You could say that others were perfectly within their rights to shun the 2012 Olympics because of this country's stand on the middle east.

  • Comment number 84.

    @ 74

    It's hardly "disugusting journalism," racism in the tournament has been as talked about as the football itself, is surely fairly newsworthy.

    Plus we've already had a few blogs higlighting our lack of quality lets move on to some more debatable topics

  • Comment number 85.


    Twerp - meant David Bond - anyway what big sporting question - any help from fellow bloggers also appreciated

  • Comment number 86.

    I lived in South Africa in the 1980s. If the international community had taken the "don't mix sport with politics" view back then, apartheid would still be going strong today!

    And for all of you still harping on about Sol Campbell, this boycott is because the Ukrainian government is jailing opposition politicians and nothing to do with a BBC documentary.

  • Comment number 87.

    What a surprise, the Daily Mail moral police (who have an irrational hatered of the BBC) have quickly pounced on this article without even reading it to shriek hysterically about racism when that isn't even what the article is about. If anyone is an embarrassment to Britain, it's people like this

  • Comment number 88.

    @84 I didn't say disgusting journalism, re read my post if you are going to quote me. I am not Sol Campbell!! I wouldn't stand for misquotes lol

    I said TERRIBLE journalism which reading the article it most certainly is!

    So recap on the actual football;

    So far I said POLAND v GREECE 2-0 to Poland with Lewandowki getting a goal or two, somebody else said 2-1 Greece but neglected to name the scorers. Then somebody else said 2-0 Poland with Lewandowski again.

    So far the Poles have it on public opinion! Then again out of 87 comments only 3 talking about actual football. Hardly worth mentioning it...

    if people want to discuss politics can they please click the POLITICS tab at the top and navigate away from SPORTS. As thrilling as politics are Euro 2012 starts tomorrow! YAY

    Poland to beat Greece 2-0 (Lewandowksi scoring)
    France to beat England 2-1 (Carroll with the consolation)
    Sweden to beat Ukraine 2-0 (Ibrahimovic getting both goals)

    Any takers?

  • Comment number 89.

    @84 Also I said nothing about "our lack of quality" either? Put your glasses back on mate :)

  • Comment number 90.

    At 23:04 7th Jun 2012, GetaGripBoys wrote:

    I lived in South Africa in the 1980s. If the international community had taken the "don't mix sport with politics" view back then, apartheid would still be going strong today!

    And for all of you still harping on about Sol Campbell, this boycott is because the Ukrainian government is jailing opposition politicians and nothing to do with a BBC documentary.

    You are of course quite correct - the influence of the sporting community had a significant effect on the eventual abolition of apartheid but it was not neccessarily politically lead. It was founded upon true sporting ideals which unfortunately very few people can see as standing for much on the face of it, yet the essential features encompass all people coming together to compete in an atmosphere that does not take account of race, creed or colour. I could go deeper but to answer my own previous posts, what was the big question, it was should politics and sport be intermingled, and the answer is - no

  • Comment number 91.

    I don't care about Ukraine or its politics. Football tomorrow!!!

  • Comment number 92.

    The Ukrainian Gov't didn't jail an opposition politician, a politician was found guilty by a court with independent judges of abusing her power whilst in Government, a decision supported by the majority of the Ukrainian people. Her decisions costs Ukraine many billions. Fact! I wish people who pontificate from the sidelines about countries and their ways would actually go a live in the countries concerned, talk to the real people for a few years (not a couple of days) and then I might be prepared to accept their learned comments. Otherwise they are just ignorant comments based on heresay and spin.

    I am a strong supporter of the Government in most things (for my sins!) but on this one they are simply wrong and ignorant. Duped by an attractive, blonde and very clever lady... who is also guilty of this (and probably many other things) and was caught.

    Oh, and Poland 3, Greece 1...

  • Comment number 93.


    the fact is William Hague is a nobody in world politics. All he's known for is as a shadow leader failing to lead the failed political party. Also, the English snubbing of the Euro Tournament will be known only in the UK, promoted by sad souls like the author of this article and the one who gave the "go ahead".

    The side effect is that the Euro Championships in football are taking place in an environment heavily racist which is not only sad but ever so disappointing that no actions have been taken against racism, neither decisions have been made for actions to ensure racism will not appear - never mind excluding countries from hosting such events as heavily racist.

    As for the Olympic games someone else mentioned, the Olympic idea is long dead now. It's all about selling security systems, deadly expensive to countries hosting the Games, driving to losing Big Money to the normal suspects selling such systems. It's a sell and promote game. The Olympic Idea was about fairness and P E A C E .

  • Comment number 94.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 95.


    Fine but I'm just a wage slave like you

    I would love this to be just a football conversation but since 606 finished some BBC journo has to write an article which allows us all to make some ribald comments.

    So in the quickest way i can reply to you at this late hour how's this for runniong with the ball

    My prediction for the up and coming group stage after a serious analysis of posts on here.

    Each match in the first 4 matches ends with Nil/Nil draws and everything comes down to the last matches.

    After 90 minutes, and extra time in both, the score is Nil/Nil, and in the ensuing penalty shoot out all teams miss their first 6 shots.

    Theo Walcott steps up for England and as he starts his run up the band begins a rendition of Rule Britannia and the keeper sticks his fingers in his ears where they remain. Walcott slips in his run up, the keeper thinks this is a feint and goes left but Walcott manages to slide on his knees to connect and the ball trickles just over the line. The ref consults the assistant as to whether this is a properly taken penalty, the assistant looks down a couple of times having realised both his shoelaces are undone but the ref takes this as an affirmative nod, and the goal is given. Butland saves the next penalty. France also score and save in their game.

    England top the group by virtue of the much vaunted, alphabetical order. The Sun positively raves that this must have been the cleverest penalty ever taken and banner headlines England will go all the way. The nation breathes a hearty sigh of relief that those who truly know football can’t be wrong.

  • Comment number 96.

    @ Turkeyshoot :) LOL that was brilliant!

    hehe yeah I miss 606. Maybe I should add a discussion forum to my site? I had thought that people would go elsewhere, but it seems a market not currently catered for?

    Ok well if anybody is bothered and wants to see a 606 style forum where the moderation is limited (I hated it how comments were cut for not being in agreement with the current politics of the article) then send me an email or something and I will get to work...

    I see what you mean, people need an outlet but obviously the BBC had better things to do with our money than give us what we desire :) Hehe how's that for a ribald comment?

    0-0 all the way? Come on you know better than to say England will not concede :D

  • Comment number 97.

    So at long last - the likes of - Charade - Trawler - Londoner - Blue etc - have given up - amongst others - because they always hit us - that is the decent people on here - with a strange perception that deepdown they know that it's not realy important.

    So beware fellow bloggers - not everthing you ever read is true

  • Comment number 98.

    please do not post without at least learning some of the facts, your talking about issues you clearly have little or no understanding of. Comparing england's racist issues (im not saying we don't have any, we do) to that of ukraine's is rediculous. Secondly and far more importantly this is not the reason the government is boycotting Ukraine! i could create a 1500 word essay on everything that was wrong with your post but i really can not be bothered. you sir are and idiot and the fact you actually passed you gcse's to be able to take your A-levels is nothing short of a miracle.


  • Comment number 99.

    I am sure some of those usernames are all done by the same person you know, they always seem totally in agreement with each other - and this just doesn't happen on the internet as we all know!

    To be fair though there are more 'decents' than there are 'others who shall remain nameless' on here these days. Even Soul Patch has stopped insulting every single person who has the nerve to disagree!

    I can't wait until the actual footy kick off though i've been gnawing my own arm off with boredom since the season finished...

    Apparently putting a signature below your posts is a heinous crime now too lol just got flamed LOLOL

  • Comment number 100.

    "Following Britain's lead" - not so! I was in Austria about a month ago when they announced that their politicians would not be attending - and I recall that they were following someone else's lead at the time!


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