Ukrainian President Viktor
Yanukovich told his people on Thursday to show a hospitable face
to foreigners during the month-long European Championship.
"In the days ahead, the attention of the world will be
focused on our country. I urge you to show full Ukrainian
hospitality, sincerity and friendliness," Yanukovich said in an
address to the nation.
Ukraine, which is co-hosting the tournament with Poland, has
suffered a deluge of bad publicity before the kick-off on
Friday. Yanukovich made no reference to criticism from Western
governments and media over the government's treatment of
opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.
Many European Union politicians are threatening to boycott
matches because of the jailing of Tymoshenko on a charge of
abuse of office. Western governments say she is the victim of
In London, the British government said its ministers would
boycott the group stage of the tournament because of human
rights concerns. England play their three Group D games in
"No ministers will be attending group games at Euro 2012," a
foreign ministry spokesman said.
"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."
Reports in the British press of racist attacks at Ukrainian
football club matches have added to bad publicity over high-level
corruption and excessive hotel prices.
Yanukovich congratulated Ukrainians on building modern
stadiums, laying thousands of kilometres of new roads and
upgrading rail and airport facilities.
"Five years ago... no one believed that our country would
have managed to prepare for the hosting of such a large-scale
event," he said.
"We should correctly welcome guests and participants of the
championship. The tourist future of our country will depend on
how they remember Ukraine and Ukrainians," Yanukovich said.
Apart from Kiev, Euro 2012 matches will be played in the
Ukrainian cities of Lviv, Kharkiv and Donetsk.
Borussia Dortmund's Mario Gotze ruled out of Champions League final against Bayern Munich
Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini will leave the La Liga club at the end of the current season
Stoke City and manager Tony Pulis part company by mutual agreement after seven years
Andy Carroll pulls out of England's friendly internationals against Ireland and Brazil
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010