Loew comes out against boycott

Germany coach Joachim Loew has rejected calls for a boycott of Euro 2012 over jailed former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.


Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison last October for abuse of office after a trial the West said was politically motivated.

She is in prison in the city of Kharkiv, one of the Euro 2012 venues, and is on hunger strike in protest at what she said was an assault by guards, an allegation denied by the prison administration.

Her case has sparked calls for a boycott of next month's tournament co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine.

"Clearly a boycott does not make sense," Loew told reporters on Monday. "But it is a good opportunity, with all eyes on the tournament, for these issues to be discussed and maybe something positive comes out.

"In Germany we have an image of football that is about fun, joy, integration, bringing people together (but) we will not travel to Ukraine as the police for the world.

"I have travelled a lot, worked in many countries and I am deeply convinced human rights are one of the most important things," added Loew.

"I identify myself with press freedom, freedom of opinion, protection of minorities and also humane treatment of Yulia Tymoshenko."

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