Schalke Chair Clemens Toennies Draws Politicians' Criticism Over Possible Moscow Trip
Bundesliga club FC Schalke Chair Clemens Toennies is "drawing criticism from German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party for suggesting that his team, sponsored by Russian energy giant Gazprom, would accept an invitation to Moscow" from Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the AP. Germany's government is "at odds with Moscow over Russia's actions in Ukraine." The general secretary of Merkel's party, Peter Tauber, said, "Accepting an invitation to the Kremlin in the current situation and letting yourself be exploited like that doesn't really show good intuition" (AP, 4/24). REUTERS' Madeline Chambers reported Toennies "would like to see the Kremlin and is interested in Moscow" but said that "no visit would take place" before the World Cup. Other politicians "also called on Toennies to rethink any plans for a visit." Toennies' spokesperson said that Toennies was "surprised and disappointed" at the attacks, saying he was "keenly aware of the sensitivities at this time." The spokesperson said, "There was never a date fixed and it is not planned to fix a date. It is the wrong time" (REUTERS, 4/24).