Politi­cians’ boy­cott will not hurt sport­ing event, French ex­pert says

Kyiv Post - - Euro 2012 -

own agen­das. Soc­cer or­ga­ni­za­tions are try­ing to help the sport cross borders and ex­ist in new coun­tries, Boni­face said. In re­turn, hosts have an op­por­tu­nity to bur­nish their in­ter­na­tional im­age.

This is an op­por­tu­nity that Ukraine risks los­ing. In the past two weeks, Euro­pean politi­cians have threat­ened to boy­cott events tak­ing place in Ukraine, cit­ing the jail­ing of op­po­si­tion politi­cians.

This, how­ever, won’t have much of an im­pact on the tour­na­ment, the French ex­pert ar­gued. “The ap­peals for a boy­cott launched by Euro­pean politi­cians will not likely af­fect the com­pe­ti­tion,” he said. “All the qual­i­fied teams will show up.”

Ac­cord­ing to Boni­face what mat­ters most is whether the coun­try’s or­ga­ni­za­tion of one of the world’s most press­cov­ered events will be sat­is­fac­tory. This is a test of moder­nity for Ukraine, of the con­di­tion in which fans and the press will be re­ceived, he said.

He com­pared the op­por­tu­nity to what France faced ahead of the 1998 World Cup. “France had the op­por­tu­nity to show the world that it was not just the coun­try of wine and of haute cou­ture, but also the coun­try of the TGV [high-speed train] and of a func­tion­ing in­fra­struc­ture,” Boni­face said.

Like­wise, he noted, Ukraine will have a chance to break with cliches and ig­no­rance, prov­ing on the in­ter- na­tional arena that it is not just some post-soviet repub­lic but a mod­ern state with re­li­able in­fra­struc­ture.

Ar­ti­cles will surely be pub­lished about the coun­try’s po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion, and the on­go­ing con­tro­versy over Ty­moshenko could worsen the coun­try’s im­age, Boni­face ac­knowl­edged. When host­ing such an event you ex­hibit your good sides, but you should ex­pect to be ques­tioned about the bad ones, he said.

“What will make head­lines, above all, is whether Ukraine was up to par,” he said. Find out where you can pur­chase

the Kyiv Post at www.kyivpost.com/news­pa­per/dis­tri­bu­tion/

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Eng­land fans hold up a flag at a game in London on March 29, 2011. (AFP) An­driy Klyuev The Kyiv Post will pub­lish a spe­cial 16-page Euro 2012 Guide in the June 8 is­sue.

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