Schalke exec criticized over possible Kremlin trip

The Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) -- The chairman of the German soccer team Schalke is drawing criticism for suggesting his team would accept an invitation to Moscow from President Vladimir Putin. The Russian energy giant Gazprom is a team sponsor.

Chairman Clemens Toennies told the business newspaper Handelsblatt on Wednesday the Bundesliga team ''would like to see the Kremlin and is interested in Moscow, and the Russian president is interested in Schalke and has invited us.'' He said now isn't the time to visit but ''politics is not our playing field.''

Germany's government is at odds with Moscow over Russia's actions in Ukraine. The general secretary of Chancellor Angela Merkel's party, Peter Tauber, said in Thursday's Bild newspaper that ''letting yourself be exploited like that doesn't really show good intuition.''

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