Tibetan Sports Association

Copenhagen officials allow controversial Tibet-Greenland soccer game.

May 15,2001
Associated Press

Copenhagen, Denmark (AP) Copenhagen on Tuesday approve game next month between the self-styled Tibetan national soccer team and Greenland that has sparked protest from China, the organizer said.

Local officials in Danish capital said the match could be played on June 30th at the Vanloese stadium, although they imposed some conditions.

"We simply have to respect few rules, which include among others not to host the Tibetan flag, "said organizer Michael Nybrandth, a former Danish league soccer player.

City offcials could not immediately be reached for comment.

China, which claims sovereignty over Tibet and rejects descriptions of it as a nation earlier had protested to the Danish Soccer Association over the planned mat.

The national association said it had no opinion about the game but would not organize it because neither team is part of an international organization and non its 1,600 members were involved.

The Tibetan,26 players drawn from Tibetan refugee groups in India, Nepal and Europe,was formed in 1998 and played its first overseas matches in Italy in 1999.

Greenland,a semiautonomous Danish territory,has in recent years assembled a National soccer team made up of amateurs and is not a member of Danish soccer Association.

Stadium rental costs and other expenses would be finance"by the tickets sold for the game, private companies that would sponsor the jerseys and some charity organizations," Nybrandt said, declining to elaborate.

Greenland exports prawns to China and the two recently agreed on a reduction of import duties. But as niether Tibet nor Greenland belongs to FIFA, the world governing body of soccer, Beijing has no power to stop the match.

"I've known from the very beginning that this would meet opposition, "Nybrandt said about the game.

Nybrandt approached the Tibetans last year and suggested a friendly match against the greenland team,which is coached German-born Sepp Piontek who was incharge of the Danish team in the 1980's.Under him,the Danes qualified for the European Championships in France in 1984,and in Germany in 1988.The Danes also were in Mexico for the 1986 World Cup.

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