cristian sacchetti

Boycotting EURO 2012? Perhaps, err, who knows …

The situation in Ukraine is critical but no one really want to resolve the problem.

The news in the last few months that came from Ukraine, the one about the prison violence suffered by the ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, should not have shocked anyone. In fact it is not a brand new news, not even shocking, the fact that  the former Soviet state is one of the most politically unstable and corrupt country of the entire continent. Instead, what should make controversy and shock the reader, is the attitude of two organizations, UEFA and the European Union. What these two powerful and influential institutions are doing to solve the problem or to punish the Ukrainian state? The answer is simple. NOTHING!
In recent months there has been talk about the problem, it was condemned, and there were also talking of drastic punishment to be implemented, but ultimately they did not do anything. Europe did not take any actions and  Ukraine is having a laugh.


Ukrainians protesting duiring the Orange Revolution (©

AN UNSTABLE STATE- Ukraine is, since it became independent in 1991, a country that has experienced periods of instability, a country with a big gap between the rich (few) and poor (many) and especially a nation that still has not proper identity, divided by those who would like to become more European and those who continue to look to Russia as a close ally. This lack of a true national identity and a political class that does not govern properly, are the main reason of why in this state there are short periods of growth and stability and long periods of instability, high corruption among business man and polician and economic crises.
We all have in our memory the events of the “Orange Revolution” and the dream of a political and social stability for this state. That dream did not last long, just long enough to the next political crisis followed by new elections, a series of unstable governments, the arrest of influential politicians and diplomatic crisis with Russia.  Ukraine is, after more than two decades since its independence,  exactly in the same situation  it was before, unstable, corrupt and subject to the arrogance of neighbor Russia.

Tymoshenko shows the bruises after been beaten by police in jail (© AP Photo)


Stray dogs killed to clean the streets before the start of EURO 2012 (© The Sun)

AN INCOMPETENT UEFA – If you know a minimum of Ukraine’s history or you simply remember what happened recently in that state it is normal that you may ask yourself: why UEFA (the Union of European Football Associations) gave to this country the opportunity to host the EURO 2012? The answer is simple. Because UEFA, like FIFA (the International Federation of Association Football), are organizations with managers that are not good at delivering good strategy, plan and ideas.
Monsieur Platini, great ex-football player but  a poor president of UEFA, leads a group of executives that did not have many good idea in the last few years.

Michel Platini, president of UEFA. (©

Some examples.  The addition of two referees, one for each penalty area,instead of technology in the same style of rugby and the gradual elimination of the old European cups for clubs (Champions League, UEFA Cup) for the creation of a larger and more powerful Champions League and a UEFA Cup that looks like a minor and boring competition (today called Europa League).
It is clear that this organization is unable to manage European football. In the eyes of all us the UEFA seems out of time, living on its own planet and that has no intention of listening those who continue to criticize the ideas and policies adopted by Mr. Platini.

THE OTHERS- What all the other institutions are doing? Nothing! The EU, like every time that they are facing a big problem, has discussed the problem and concluded nothing. Not a real and strong criticism, not a serious statement, only few weak warnings.
The European governments? The football associations? The media? Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. The media, especially the Italians, wrote a few miserable articles without criticizing the actions of the major responsible and the British did a documentary on BBC, about racism in Polish and Ukrainian football, that could have been done much better. The only one who actually talked properly about the issues of Ukraine were the Germans.
The national governments declared that probably they will not send representatives to the opening ceremony and some states, like Germany and England, confirmed that they will not send member of their governments to the games in Ukraine. A ridiculous idea, that does not even scare a bit the organiser of the event and that make our “wise” politicians looks like as a bunch of fools. The national football federations have said something about boycotting the event but nothing happened . A few months ago, the Italian Minister for Regional Affairs, Tourism and Sports, Piero Gnudi said that “Sport cannot turn away”, while the German environment minister, Norbert Roettgen, said that Europeans governments should boycott the matches scheduled in Ukraine as a form of protest. So many beautiful statements but no a real declaration of boycott.

A little but strong action would have been enough to change things. If the national federations of the five most powerful football countries, Spain, Germany, Italy, France and England, would have announced to boycott the tournament only in Ukraine (Poland, co-organizer of the event, has nothing to do with this mess) we surely would have seen a fast reaction from UEFA, from the EU and also from the various corporations that sponsor the event, to avoid a massive disaster. But, as mentioned above, there was not a real boycott statements and not even a common strategy to solve the problem of Ukraine. This is a state that acts against all democratic and civilized rules. A organisation without attributes and a phantom presence when it is invoked, this European Union looks at Ukraine and does not react.
The tournament has started and the pre-EURO 2012 controversy seem that they never existed. And Ukraine keep laughing.



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Questa voce è stata pubblicata il 10 giugno 2012 da in Europa, Sport.
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