Home > Al-Assad, Assad, Assad Thugs, Bashar al-Assad, Damascus, Syria, Syrian human rights > FIFA says Syria unsafe to host futbal matches

FIFA says Syria unsafe to host futbal matches


By AMMAR BEN AZIZ
AL ARABIYA

 Syria is suggesting Antakya in Turkey to host its next official match against Turkmenistan, Al Arabiya reported on Thursday. Earlier, Syria announced it was searching for a neutral venue to hold its 2012 Olympics qualifier after FIFA ruled the country was unsafe because of ongoing anti-government protests.

A source told Al Arabiya “the Syrians want to play in Antakya. If it was not possible, they are planning to write to the Jordanian Federation to allow the match to be played in Amman.”

Antakya is too close to Aleppo, which hosted many official international matches.

 The first leg was originally scheduled to be played at the Al Abbassiyin Stadium in Damascus on June 19. However, FIFA informed the Syrian FA that it had decided to move to a neutral venue after taking into account “the very exceptional security circumstances still prevailing in Syria.”
Syria said it would come up with a neutral venue this week.Since mid-March, the regime of President Bashar al-Assadhas launched a violent crackdown against protesters that rights groups say left more than 850 people dead. Thousands more have been detained.It is the second “incident” in which Syrian football is affected by the violence in the country.

French coach Claude Le Roy has recently asked to end his contract with the Syrian national football team amid growing unrest in the country.

 Syrian Football Federation president Farouq Sariyeh said last week that Mr. Le Roy “asked that his contract be broken amicably, saying that he could no longer stay in the country after France called on its citizens to leave Syria.”

France urged any of its citizens living in or visiting Syria to leave on Wednesday and warned others to cancel any plans to visit during the current political crisis.

Mr. Sariyeh said that Mr. Le Roy had initially proposed to leave the country while maintaining his contract but this offer had been rejected.

Mr. Le Roy took up the position last March in a deal running until June 2013 after spending most of his career in Africa.

(Ammar Ben Aziz, a senior editor at Al Arabiya, can be reached at: ammar.benaziz@mbc.net)

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