• Germany edition
 
Have your say
Should soccer be used as a political football?
Photo: DPA

Should soccer be used as a political football?

Published: 02 May 2012 14:41 GMT+02:00
Updated: 02 May 2012 14:41 GMT+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.

Registered users of The Local may add their comments in the field below. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can do so here – it’s free and only takes a moment.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

02:07 May 3, 2012 by Ludwig von America
One can be sure that whatever a politician does is for a strategic reason and not from the heart. The truth is that nobody in the German government gives a damn about Tymoshenko or any other Ukrainian citizen. If Germany's leaders boycott the games, it will be be because they think they can influence the politics in Ukraine. They would really like to get Ukraine in their/EU/NATO sphere rather than seeing them get closer to Russia.

So, to the politicians in Germany...if you really feel in your heart that it would be morally wrong to attend a game while this woman is in prison, then just don't go and keep your mouth shut.
02:13 May 3, 2012 by thamiii
Football should not be used as a political stage. No one boycotted the 2008 Olympics and China has a much worse record of Human rights abuse than the Ukraine. Russia isnt exactly innocent of human rights abuses and they are hosting the Winter Olympics.

Football is the beautiful game and should be disconnected from politics. Football is for the people, NOT the politicians.

Politicians should express thier disagreement through political discourse and/or sanctions, not Football.
12:18 May 3, 2012 by dwsrgreenslade
I was one of a large number of New Zealanders that contributed to changes in South Africa by forcing the NZ authorities to abandon a South African Rugby tour that was underway.

To isolate governments and their sports people who dont follow accepted norms is in many cases the only way to demonstrate that ordinary people in the rest of the world do not accept repressive governments and perhaps force change
17:59 May 4, 2012 by theresahelle
Any means to get political prisoners out of prison, especially if they are not violent people, should be adopted, be it football or any other means. Somehow I could not enjoy the game otherwise.
13:16 May 7, 2012 by Prufrock2010
Since football is more than a religion to millions of people throughout the world, this is the perfect opportunity to call global attention to the Ukrainian human rights abuses by boycotting the tournament. If the Ukraine chooses to act as a pariah state it should be treated as such. To participate in this tournament is to give tacit approval of the Ukraine's reprehensible policies.
18:21 May 7, 2012 by smart2012
From what I have heard Frau Merkel said she may decide not to go to see the games in Ukraine. So what??

Either you boycott the full tournement, and in addition you stop any businesses with Ukraine (gas import/selling staff there) otherwise at my eyes it is just potical hypocrisy. Possible scenario: Merkel will not go to Ukraine but she will join any governement discussions on gas via phone conf??? ah ah
11:52 June 4, 2012 by Landmine
Isn't this story very old to still be fronline news? Isn't there any other news that can replace this old story? C'mon editors, one month on the front page???? Simply Reprehensible!
Today's headlines
Tennis aces close in on Fed Cup final
Members of the German Fed Cup Team celebrate after an earlier victory in the tournament. Photo: DPA

Tennis aces close in on Fed Cup final

Germany took hold of their Fed Cup semi-final on Saturday, winning both the opening day singles to lead Australia 2-0 in Brisbane. READ () »

Croatia extradites ex-top spy to Germany

Croatia extradites ex-top spy to Germany

Croatia extradited a former Yugoslav spy chief, Zdravko Mustac, to Germany on Thursday to face charges for the 1983 murder of a dissident on German soil. READ () »

German court jails Somali pirate for 12 years
An officer of the Lower Saxon Criminal Investigation Department (CID) securing evidence on the hijacked ship Marida Marguerite. Photo: DPA

German court jails Somali pirate for 12 years

A German court has sentenced a Somali pirate chief to 12 years in jail for hijacking a ship off the Horn of Africa and tormenting its crew during an eight-month ordeal. READ () »

New app helps clients find prostitutes
Photo: DPA

New app helps clients find prostitutes

While the German government is considering tightening prostitution laws, Berlin entrepreneurs have developed a smartphone app to connect sex-workers with clients. READ () »

Highs of 22C forecast for Easter weekend
Photo: DPA

Highs of 22C forecast for Easter weekend

The days running up to Easter may be cool and wet, but the holiday weekend should be a bit warmer for most of Germany, according to forecasters. READ () »

Berlin man must call himself a mother
The fight over the transgender man's right to be his child's official father has been raging since last year. Photo: DPA

Berlin man must call himself a mother

A transgender person who became the first man in Germany to give birth in March 2013 must be registered as the child's mother, a court has ruled after his year-long court battle to be named a father. READ () »

Study: rape convictions fall sharply
Photo: DPA

Study: rape convictions fall sharply

The chance of being convicted of rape in Germany has more than halved in the past two decades to fewer than one in ten, a major study revealed on Thursday. READ () »

SPD: Restore 45-percent investment tax
The tax privilege for investment income is unfair, says the SPD. Photo: DPA

SPD: Restore 45-percent investment tax

The centre-left half of Germany's coalition government has called for the old top rate of a 45-percent tax on investments to be brought back - to match standard income tax and fight the squeeze on middle incomes. READ () »

Customs find smuggled cash in every third car
Sniffing out the money. Photo: DPA

Customs find smuggled cash in every third car

The number of Germans smuggling large amounts of cash across the Swiss border into Germany rose dramatically last year. Customs officers said on Thursday they made a find in almost every third car they checked. READ () »

Crystal meth use hits record level
Crystal meth seized in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

Crystal meth use hits record level

Consumption of crystal meth in Germany appears to have reached a record level, according to government figures published on Thursday. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Rhineland
Elderly man taped €200,000 to his genitals
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
What's the unemployment rate in your area of Germany?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Nine ways to celebrate Easter like a German
Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
Gallery
World War I in colour photos
Photo: DPA
Society
'The mafia has infiltrated every sector in Germany'
Photo: DPA
Society
JobTalk: Why you should teach English in Germany
Photo: DPA
National
330,000 sign up against TV licence fee
Photo: DPA
Hamburg
School kids hospitalized after 'porno' party
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The week in pictures: April 5th - April 11th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten great inventions you (probably) didn't know were German
Photo: J. Arthur White
Berlin
Clashes in Berlin as refugees tear down their own camp
Advertisement:
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Munich's baby polar bears are finally named
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The 10 best German employers to work for
CurrencyFair
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Mr. Lodge
Sponsored Article
How to find a furnished rental in Munich
Sponsored Article
How to make a lasting impression in business
Hult International Business School
Sponsored Article
What they don't teach you at Business School
Photo: DPA
Society
Nine jobs you can only do in Germany
Photo:ESL
Sponsored Article
How to integrate successfully in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,104
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd