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Should soccer be used as a political football?

The Local · 2 May 2012, 14:41

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

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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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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!
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