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Should soccer be used as a political football?

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Photo: DPA
14:41 CEST+02:00
As Euro 2012 approaches in Poland and Ukraine, soccer has become a political football over the treatment of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Is sport a useful diplomatic tool or should it be free of politics? Have your say.

German politicians are trying to pressure the Ukrainian government into improving its treatment of Tymoshenko, who is on hunger strike after claiming she was beaten up and taken to hospital against her will.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said on Wednesday that concerns over her treatment could lead to the country being blocked from a political and trade deal with the European Union.

Early this week Chancellor Angela Merkel said she might stop her cabinet members from attending next month's Euro 2012 matches, while the Austrian government said on Wednesday none of its members would be going.

There have even been calls to take the Euro 2012 championship out of Ukraine and hold it only in Poland or even in Germany instead.

Should football be disconnected from politics, or is such a tournament a good opportunity to try to influence the political situation in a host country?

Should German politicians go to matches to cheer on their team or should their seats be left empty to show their contempt for the government's treatment of Tymoshenko? Have your say below.

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