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Euro 2012: Danish footballers banned from using social media

Denmark,Sports, Wed, 25 Apr 2012 IANS

Copenhagen, April 25 (IANS) Denmark's national football team has been banned from using Twitter and other social media sites during the upcoming European Championships 2012, the country's governing body for the game has said.


"We have an agreement with players that they will not be active on social media sites during the European Championships," Lars Berendt, communications head for the Danish Football Association (DFA), told TV2.


This means there will be no other contact between players and fans outside of official statements, and post-match press conferences and interviews, reports Xinhua.


"There is already so much communication during European Championship, that we must limit the time for meeting with the media," Berendt said.


The DFA says the ban has actually been in place ever since online social media platforms emerged, and that the decision to forbid their use was done by Danish national football team coach Morten Olsen.


However, the ban sparked a controversy in Denmark, given that several Danish national players are avid social media users, and often update their fans via Twitter and Facebook.


Star forward Nicklas Bendtner, who plays for English club Sunderland, regularly writes about his life in England on his Twitter feed, which has 48,504 subscribers.


Bendtner and Danish national team goalkeeper Thomas Soerensen's twitter accounts reveal they have previously written to fans via the micro-blogging site while part of the national team training camp, and before some international games.


But Berendt said Tuesday that no player has previously communicated via social media while on national team duty.


For his part, Bendtner told the TV channel Tuesday that "I do not agree, but do respect" the DFA's decision, adding that social media was a personal communications channel for many national team players' feelings and thoughts after matches.


Meanwhile, Danish culture minister Uffe Elbaek joined the debate, saying the DFA's decision "tried to restrict popular freedom of expression."


The Euro 2012 will be played in Poland and Ukraine from June 8 to July 1. Denmark are grouped with Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal.


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