Spanish government threatens Euro 2012 final boycott

Reuters, Sunday 6 May 2012

The Spanish government would boycott the final of Euro 2012 if Ukraine did not resolve the case of jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, Spain's Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo was quoted on Sunday.


Spain are the defending champions and favourites for the continental soccer tournament being jointly hosted by Ukraine and Poland and the final is due to be played in Kiev on July 1.

"If Spain gets through to that final, there will be no member of the government present while the case of Yulia Tymoshenko is unresolved," Garcia-Margallo said in an interview with ABC newspaper published on Sunday.

Spain would consider not playing the final if there was a Europe-wide decision for teams to boycott it, he said, adding that he was in touch with Poland and Germany on the issue.

Tymoshenko, the main rival of President Viktor Yanukovich, was sentenced to seven years in prison last October for abuse of office after a trial the West says was politically motivated.

She is in prison in the city of Kharkiv, one of the Euro 2012 venues, and is on hunger strike in protest at what she said was an assault by prison guards, an allegation denied by the prison administration.

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