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10 Oct, 2022 15:22

Bosnian football bosses delay decision on Russia match

Russia is due to host Bosnia and Herzegovina for an international football friendly in St. Petersburg in November
Bosnian football bosses delay decision on Russia match

The football authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina have postponed a decision on whether they will proceed with a match against Russia after rescheduling a meeting of the organization’s executive board until the end of October.

It was announced last month that Russia was planning to host the Bosnia and Herzegovina men’s team for a friendly international at the Gazprom Arena in St. Petersburg on November 19.

The news triggered an angry reaction from the Ukrainian football authorities, who vowed to exert pressure on football bosses in Sarajevo – as well as FIFA and UEFA – to ensure the plans were scrapped.

Prominent Bosnian players Miralem Pjanic and Edin Dzeko also suggested they would be opposed to playing the fixture, with Russia currently banned from all official UEFA and FIFA competitions because of the conflict in Ukraine.

The Football Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina initially stated it would make a decision at a meeting scheduled for October 10, but confirmed on Sunday that a gathering of its executive board had been put back to October 31.

On a visit to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin last month, Bosnian Serb political leader Milorad Dodik said he fully supported the match going ahead.

Putin himself stressed at the same meeting that sport should unite, not divide people, and I hope that the [match] will play its role in promoting sports and relations between people.”

However, some figures inside the Bosnian football federation, including board member Fuad Colpa, have said they would now be against the match going ahead.

The Russian men’s national team played their first match since last November when they traveled to Bishkek for a friendly against Kyrgyzstan on September 24.

Another friendly match for Valery Karpin’s team is planned against Iran in November, but with the date and location yet to be announced.

Russia was banned from all UEFA and FIFA competitions at the end of February, following a recommendation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

That decision has led to the Russian men’s team being deprived of the chance to qualify for the 2022 Qatar World Cup, while they were also removed from the draw from the 2024 UEFA European Championship set to be held in Germany.