Ministers in Euro 2012 boycott

PA Sport
Arena Lviv - one of the stadia UK ministers will not be visiting in the group stages of Euro 2012 after electing to boycott
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Arena Lviv - one of the stadia UK ministers will not be visiting in the group stages of Euro 2012 after electing to boycott

Ministers are boycotting the initial stages of Euro 2012 over concerns about human rights in Ukraine.

The Foreign Office said the government "fully supported" the England team's participation in the tournament. But no ministers will be attending group stage matches in Ukraine 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.

Tymoshenko was jailed for seven years last year after what supporters claim was a show trial.

The former prime minister staged a hunger strike in April after photos appeared showing bruises on her body. She has accused prison guards of assaulting her.

Foreign Secretary William Hague has previously indicated that attendance by ministers was under review.

A statement released by his department on Thursday read: "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."

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