‘No threat’ to Russia football match despite border skirmishes – officials
The football authorities in Kyrgyzstan have given assurances that the friendly international against Russia planned for Bishkek on Saturday will go ahead despite the recent fighting which erupted on the border with Tajikistan.
Dozens of people have been reported killed on both sides in the clashes between the two former Soviet republics, in a flare-up which intensified at the end of last week before a tentative ceasefire agreement.
The situation has led to suggestions that the planned visit of the Russian men’s national team to Bishkek could be scrapped, although Kyrgyz football officials dismissed that notion on Monday.
“There are no threats [to the match], if you mean the border invasion by a neighboring republic,” the press service of the Kyrgyz Football Union told RIA Novosti.
“Geographically, [the area of conflict] is located in another corner of the country. As for the tickets, they have not yet gone on sale. We expect this to happen in the coming days.”
Earlier on Monday, Russia manager Valery Karpin and members of his coaching staff said they were preparing as normal for the match.
The Russian squad are due to train at their Novogorsk base just outside Moscow until Thursday before departing for Kyrgyzstan.
Karpin will be hoping that his team faces a competitive test in a rare international outing which will be their first since playing Croatia in a World Cup qualifying meeting last November.
Russia were due to feature in the 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifying playoffs back in March before being banned from all UEFA and FIFA competitions because of the conflict in Ukraine.
The match against Kyrgyzstan is due to be one of three friendlies that Russia plan to play in the autumn.
The others are set for November against Iran – most likely in Tehran – and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The latter of those matches is scheduled for St. Petersburg on November 19, but could be under threat after the Ukrainian Association of Football (UAF) called on FIFA and UEFA to prevent it from going ahead, even though it falls outside official competition.
The Bosnian football authorities have said they will revisit the matter at a meeting in October.