Sunday, 29 April 2012
EURO 2012 Has Become a Political Football in Germany
Tymoshenko is serving a seven year sentence of abuse of power charges, based on an energy deal with Russia. Western countries have condemned the charges and threatened to freeze cooperation with the Ukraine. Tymoshenko has been on hunger strike for the last ten days to protest alleged abuse in Kharkiv prison. Kharkiv is one of the venues during EURO 2012, the European Soccer championship, hosted by Poland and the Ukraine.
The first game scheduled in Kharkiv will be on June 9th when the Netherlands meets Denmark. The match between the The Netherlands and Germany is scheduled to take place on June 13th, which would require at the minimum the German Minister of Sports to attend.
Bayern boss Uli Hoeness said that he trusts the players to be smart enough to have an opinion on the issue. He said he would have respect for every player that takes a stand on this issue. One of Bayern's players, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk (Анатолій Тимощук) will be appearing as part of the Ukrainian team.
Hoeness has also called on the President of UEFA, Michel Platini, to take a tough stand against the regime in the Ukraine.
"I sincerely hope that Mr. Platini, clearly voices his opinion in the right places.
The newly elected German President, Joachim Gauck, a human rights advocate, has cancelled a trip to EURO 2012 to protest the incarceration conditions of Yulia Tymoshenko.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said if the former Ukrainian PM should still be incarcerated during the Euro 12 competition, she would recommend that any of her Ministers would not be attend the games in the Ukraine. She has made an exception for her Sports Minister, Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich. Friedrich has said he would go to the Kharkiv on the condition that he could meet with Yulia Tymoshenko beforehand.
Germany's stance on this issue is the right one, the remaining countries involved in this competition should also exert pressure on the Ukrainian government to stop this abuse of human rights.
Kudos to Uli Hoeness, the Bayern boss for addressing this issue and encouraging his players to speak out. One of Bayern's players, Anatolyi Tymoschuk will be representing the Ukrainian national side.