31 January, 17:51

Merkel non-attendance at Sochi Olympics confirmed

Merkel non-attendance at Sochi Olympics confirmed

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will not attend the Olympic Games in Sochi, government spokesman Georg Streiter confirmed Friday.

Interior minister Thomas de Maiziere, a Christian Democratic colleague of Merkel's whose portfolio includes sport, will travel to Russia.

In her time as Chancellor, Merkel has not attended an Olympic Games in summer or winter. In contrast she is a big fan of the German national football team and is often seen supporting the side at major tournaments.

Merkel's predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, plans to attend the opening ceremony on February 7.

"IOC president (Thomas)Bach has invited him to the opening of the Olympic Games, and Mr Schroeder will accept this invitation," a spokesman from Schroeder's office told dpa Friday. Schroeder is also a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Voice of Russia, dpa

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