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Switzerland asked to stop payments to Yugoslav football team

Uefa headquarters in Nyon

(Keystone)

Switzerland is getting drawn in to attempts by Kosovo Albanians to prevent Yugoslavia from taking part in the European football championships which start on Saturday.

Kosovar associations in Belgium and Holland, where Euro 2000 is being held, have unsuccessfully challenged Yugoslavia's right to take part in the tournament. However, a court in Brussels said any payments made to the Yugoslav team for qualifying would be in breach of European Union sanctions against Belgrade.

But the European football federation, UEFA, which makes the payments, is based in Switzerland. Although Switzerland is outside the EU, the Swiss government has informally joined the EU sanctions against the regime of President Slobodan Milosevic. These include a freeze of assets belonging to Milosevic or his allies, and a ban on exports of goods and services.

The Swiss government said it had yet to examine the question.

UEFA said it not been contacted by the Swiss authorities over the issue, and that it had no plans to treat Yugoslavia differently to any other team. Participants in Euro 2000 will receive payments from UEFA of between SFr4.8 million and SFr14.4 million, depending on their ranking.

swissinfo with agencies

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