Football: Russia denies leaders' attendance at opening match
(MOSCOW) - Neither Russian President Vladimir Putin nor Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will attend their country's Euro 2012 opening match against the Czech Republic, their representatives said Friday.
An official at Europe football's governing body UEFA had earlier told AFP that Medvedev would be attending Friday's encounter in Wroclaw as well as Tuesday's crunch match again co-host nation Poland in Warsaw.
UEFA said attendance at the emotion-charged Poland game by Putin -- an avid sports enthusiast with nationalist leanings who began an historic third Kremlin term last month -- would not be confirmed until a day in advance.
Both both leader's press secretaries denied their attendance at Friday's opening match in comments issued to Russian news agencies.
Neither press secretary mentioned Tuesday's match against Poland.
Dick Advocaat's side have taken up residence at an upmarket central Warsaw hotel despite pressure from the Polish government for them to move because of a monthly anti-Moscow demonstration planned nearby this Sunday.
The rally honours Poland's late head of state Lech Kaczynski and the 95 other members of his delegation who perished in an April 10, 2010 plane crash in western Russia.
The were bound for a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the World War II killings of thousands of captured Polish soldiers by the Soviets -- a massacre Moscow blamed on Nazi Germany for decades.
Text and Picture Copyright 2012 AFP. All other Copyright 2012 EUbusiness Ltd. All rights reserved. This material is intended solely for personal use. Any other reproduction, publication or redistribution of this material without the written agreement of the copyright owner is strictly forbidden and any breach of copyright will be considered actionable.