Russians refuse to move their football team from Euro 2012 hotel
Russian football authorities have rejected a request from Poland to move the country's team base in Warsaw during the Euro 2012 football tournament from a controversial location.
The Poles had pointed out that the five-star Le Meridien Bristol, where the Russian side is due to stay, is next to the site of a monthly rally to commemorate the death of the former President Lech Kaczynski and 95 others in plane crash in Russia in 2010.
Mr Kaczynski's twin brother, Jaroslaw, has accused the Russians of organising and covering up the crash, a view shared by a small minority of Poles despite a lack of evidence, and there are fears the Russian team could be caught up in an outpouring of patriotic anger. The Polish Sports Minister confirmed that he had asked the Russian authorities to consider moving the team base. The Russians said the controversy had been manufactured by the media, and that they had no intention of changing their plans.
"Sport is outside politics. We are confident of receiving a warm and gracious welcome in Poland," the Russian Football Union spokesman, Nikolai Komarov, told the Russian newspaper Sport Express. "The Russia national team will stay in the hotel selected in advance and nothing can hinder our plans."
Russia is in the same group as Poland and will play the host nation in Warsaw on 12 June, while the rally is due to be held on 10 June. The hotel furore is just the latest controversy to hit the tournament, which Poland is co-hosting with Ukraine. European leaders have threatened to boycott the Ukrainian half of the tournament in protest over the jailing of the former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, while fans have complained of extortionate hotel prices.
Latest in Sport
David Moyes sacked: Louis van Gaal and Carlo Ancelotti head wish list as Manchester United as Ryan Giggs is ruled out
Liverpool v Chelsea: Jose Mourinho threatens to play weakened side at Anfield after losing Petr Cech and John Terry during Atletico Madrid tie
David Moyes sacked: Ruthless decision to sack manager was made by club over two months ago
Liverpool transfer news: Brendan Rodgers to be given record funds to prepare for Champions League
David Moyes sacked: Manchester United's potential summer transfer targets as season hits a new low
- 1 William Shakespeare's 450th birthday: 50 everyday phrases that came from the Bard
- 2 David Cameron's constituency office calls police on food bank campaigners Bishop of Oxford and Reverend Keith Hebden
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Women take on Bear Grylls over 'sexist' male-only desert island show
- 5 Malaysia Airlines flight MH370: Concerns grow among search officials that missing jet ‘may have landed somewhere else’