Merkel rejects banning Iran from World Cup

18th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

18 January 2006, BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel opposes calls to ban Iran's team from the football World Cup which will be hosted by Germany this summer, an official said Wednesday.

18 January 2006

BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel opposes calls to ban Iran's team from the football World Cup which will be hosted by Germany this summer, an official said Wednesday.

"She personally does not think much of the idea of keeping Iran out of the games," said Merkel's chief spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm after being asked about media reports that an Israeli politician had written a letter to the German government calling for a ban.

Wilhelm said such a move would only impact on sports and Iranian football fans.

He underlined that Iranian moves to restart nuclear research as well as comments denying the Holocaust and calling for the destruction of Israel all came from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - "not the football team."

The World Cup, which runs June 9 to July 9, will see 32 nations competing in 12 German cities.

DPA

Subject: German news

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