Kosovo, Russia To Be Kept Apart In International Soccer Competitions
October 18, 2019 19:17 GMT
Teams from Russia and Kosovo will not be allowed to face one another in European soccer competitions due to “security risks,” UEFA says.
“The UEFA Emergency Panel decided that the two teams shall no longer be drawn against each other in any future UEFA competitions until further notice,” European soccer’s ruling body said in a statement on October 18.
The decision could prove a headache next year with Russia already having qualified for the Euro 2020 finals while Kosovo are also well placed to make it through.
UEFA said that two Women’s Euro 2021 qualifiers between Kosovo and Russia would go ahead, but at neutral venues.
The first match was due to be played on October 4 but was postponed until a later date.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 — a move never recognized by Belgrade and its traditional ally Moscow.
Kosovo was granted full membership of UEFA and FIFA in 2016 despite strong opposition from Serbia.
Russian teams have been separated from Ukrainian teams in UEFA draws since Moscow’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014.
(C) RFE/RL 2019