German leader against banning Iran from World Cup

January 1, 2006
BERLIN, Jan 1 (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday she opposed banning Iran from the World Cup because of controversial remarks by Iran's president, saying it would be wrong to punish the players for his words.

Responding to demands to ban Iran because its President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had said Israel should be moved to Europe and suggested the Holocaust might never have happened, Merkel told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper she doubted the value of a ban.

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