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FOOTBALL

Norway rejects calls for Ukraine Euro boycott

Norwegian foreign minister Jonas Gahr Støre has advised against a boycott for Norwegians seeking to visit this summer's European Football Championship in Ukraine, while expressing concern over political developments in the country.

Gahr Støre issued a comment after statements by German Prime Minister Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, stating that they will not be visiting Ukraine during the prestigious football tournament, which is being co-hosted with Poland.

Merkel and Barroso explained their decision as a reaction to the treatment of the imprisoned opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.
 
In response to a parliamentary question on Wednesday morning the minister stated that he does not share Merkel and Barroso's view.
 
"A boycott of sports events is not a line Norway has followed before. I would not immediately think that it is an appropriate instrument here," the minister said.
 
Ine Marie Eriksen, a member of the Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, slammed the government for being silent about reported human rights violations in Ukraine. A charge rejected by the Foreign Minister.
 
"It's not set in Norway. We have signed up to the numerous protests," he stressed, stating that he is worried about developments in Ukraine concerning human rights and the rule of law.
 
Yulia Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years imprisonment last October in what much of the international community has described as a "political" trial. The former prime minister is currently on hunger strike after having allegedly suffered ill-treatment in prison.
 
In a further turn of events the president of the Spanish football federation, Angel Maria Villar, has reportedly made an offer to stage Euro 2012 in place of Ukraine. UEFA has responded to the offer by saying that it is unrealistic to shift location less than 40 days before the start of the tournament.

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FOOTBALL

Nordic countries to launch joint bid to host 2027 World Cup

Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland want to jointly host the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2027.

Nordic countries to launch joint bid to host 2027 World Cup
Sweden players during this year's World Cup in France. Photo: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The five Nordic nations want to share hosting duties for the 2027 edition of the World Cup finals and are to present the idea to the Nordic Council at a meeting in Stockholm on Tuesday, Danish football association DBU has confirmed.

FIFA is already positively disposed to joint bids for future finals tournaments, which has lent encouragement to the Nordic project, according to DBU's chairman Jesper Møller.

“We can see that support for women's football is here to stay, most recently at the (2019) World Cup in France, where matches were played in front of full stadiums and television viewers' interest was huge,” Møller said.

“A joint Nordic World Cup would not only ensure a fantastic experience for many football fans but will also strengthen important Nordic partnerships and community, and hopefully inspire many football-keen women and girls,” he continued.

“That's why support from the Nordic Council is important,” he added.

The Nordic Council (Nordisk Råd) is the official body for inter-parliamentary co-operation among the five Nordic countries and three territories of the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and the Åland Islands.

DBU is also looking into the possibility of hosting the 2025 European Championships in Denmark.

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