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