When in 2007 Ukraine was given the privilege of co-hosting the Euro 2012 games, the tournament was seen as a unique opportunity to unite the country, improve infrastructure and set in train European reforms. Everything that has happened since has deviated from that script.
Today, the world’s media routinely portray a country in democratic crisis; Andrew Wilson’s take, which delves a bit deeper, concludes that things are, in fact, even worse. Sport engages us most when it provides a test of character. Normally of course this is when people are actually playing the sport in question; but Ukraine’s co-hosting of the European Championship Finals with Poland this summer has had a similar function, casting an unexpectedly bright light on all that is wrong with modern Ukraine.
It was supposed t o be the other way around. When the tournament was originally awarded jointly to Poland and Ukraine in 2007, just three years after the Orange Revolution, theunderlying storywas about cooperation across borders and between the many versions of ‘Europe’, and even Ukraine’s long-term European future.