Dagestan unfit to host Europa matches: UEFA
By IANS - MOSCOW
03rd July 2012 02:30 PM
European football's governing body UEFA has proclaimed the Russian province of Dagestan unfit to hold Europa League matches for Russian Premier League side Anzhi Makhachkala due to safety concerns, the club said Monday.
Guus Hiddink's team qualified for the continent's second-most prestigious club competition by finishing fifth in the league.
But due to the perceived threat posed by the region's Islamist insurgency, the club must find an alternative home stadium for European games.
"The UEFA executive committee on June 30 conducted a session in Kiev at which the issue of security in Dagestan, and in Makhachkala in particular, was examined," a statement on Anzhi's site said.
"The decision was taken that Anzhi is not within its rights to hold home matches of the Europa League 2012-13 on the territory of Dagestan."
Anzhi are in the process of identifying a "reserve stadium on the territory of the Russian Federation that corresponds with all UEFA requirements", and will present the alternative to UEFA in the coming days, the club said.
Anzhi enter the competition in the second qualifying round later this month, playing their first match away on July 19 and the home leg a week later.
Dagestan is seen as a hotbed of terrorist activity and the origin of several deadly attacks over the last few years.
As recently as May, 14 people were killed and 122 wounded in suicide blasts in Makhachkala.
Militants from the regios were blamed for the double suicide blast of the Moscow subway in 2010 that killed 40 people.
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