World FootballDownload App

Euro 2012: 3 Reasons Why Boycotts of Sporting Events Fail

Montenegro VS Czech Republic UEFA Euro 2012 Qualifier
Montenegro VS Czech Republic UEFA Euro 2012 QualifierScott Heavey/Getty Images
Roberto Alvarez-GallosoChief Writer IMay 14, 2012


The content of this article is my sole opinion based on personal experience and is not that of Bleacher Report. While aware of the situations of the world (and the need to address them), I wrote this article simply to explain why boycotting sporting events do not make sense.

This is my personal statement as to why sports and politics must remain separate.

The Article

We are getting close to the initiation of Euro 2012 Poland/Ukraine with the participating countries preparing for the event. The athletes are also preparing for the event for their respective countries.

The supporters of the participating countries [as well as other fans] are also preparing for such a great event. The politicians and human rights organizations are also preparing for the event by proposing a boycott of Euro 2012.

The reason for the boycott is the situation in the Ukraine with regards to human rights as reported in magazines such as The Guardian. The former Prime Minister of the Ukraine Yulia Timoshenko is on a hunger strike in jail to protest her treatment [as well as others] in the hands of the Ukrainian government.


Regardless of the situation in the Ukraine, a boycott of Euro 2012 does not resolve the situation. According to an article by AP with a h/t to ABC, a boycott of Euro 2012 carries significant risks.

The people are going to assist and participate in the events because they like it. In other words, boycotts do not work and there are three cardinal reasons why.



1980 Summer Olympics: Moscow, USSR (now Russia)

In 1980, the then-President of the United States of America Jimmy Carter announced a boycott of the Summer Olympics that year. The reason was to protest the invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR.

The response of the people within the United States and the world was to turn the boycott upside down. The people that had the money attended the 1980 Summer Olympics.

The people that could not attend would cross the border between the USA and Canada with the intention of purchasing souvenirs of the event. There were even people who had relatives in Soviet Bloc countries that wrote to their families to find stamps and coins.

The people that had shortwave radios listened to stations from Soviet bloc countries. They sent their reception reports in order to receive souvenirs of the Moscow Olympics.

There were people who went to coin and stamp shops and ordered their souvenirs of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. I did all of the above [along with many people] and received souvenirs.

Opening Ceremony 1980 Summer Olympics Moscow, Russia
Opening Ceremony 1980 Summer Olympics Moscow, RussiaGetty Images/Getty Images

The boycott did not resolve anything.


1984 Summer Olympics: Los Angeles, California USA

The USSR returned the favor and boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California. The course of history went in reverse with people from Soviet Bloc countries looking for souvenirs from the USA.

I received a letter from an old friend who was in Poland. The last time I had contact with him was in 1980. He asked for souvenirs from the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Since he sent me the 1980 Olympic souvenirs from Poland, I decided to return the favor. I bought for him many souvenirs from the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

After buying the souvenirs, I mailed them at the post office via registered mail with a return receipt. He sent me a note saying that he received everything and thanked me.

In the note, the friend told me that people in the Soviet Bloc countries were obtaining (or attempting to obtain) souvenirs from the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Gold Medal 1984 Summer Olympics Los Angeles California
Gold Medal 1984 Summer Olympics Los Angeles CaliforniaGetty Images/Getty Images

The boycott did not work either.

2008 Summer Olympics: Beijing, China

The 2008 Summer Olympics were underway in Beijing, China. The people were ready for the event and those who could attend participated.

The politicians and human rights organizations (with their intentions) attempted another boycott of a sporting event. The presenter of British TV Konnie Huq received criticism for carrying the Olympic torch in London even though she expressed her opinion of China.

The same politicians and human rights organizations were surprised that there were no similar reactions about their cause in Argentina or Tanzania. They were also surprised that people were more interested in the Olympics.

The people saw the 2008 Olympics on television, the internet, or heard it on the radio. They bought souvenirs from the event and those that could afford it, went to the Olympics.

We know the answer.


The song “Turn Turn Turn” interpreted by The Byrds and based on the Bible verses from Ecclesiastes 3:1-22 talked about a time for different things. The time is NOW to enjoy the Euro 2012 matches instead of thinking or committing a boycott which could hurt athletes and fans alike.

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices