POLITICS: PennAve

U.S. soccer match in Ukraine canceled amid political unrest

By |
Politics,United States,National Security,PennAve,Sean Lengell,Ukraine,World Cup,Soccer

U.S. Soccer officials on Tuesday called off next month's U.S. men's national team match in Ukraine after political violence rocked the country this month.

The "friendly" match against the Ukrainian national team, scheduled for March 5, is expected to be moved to Cyprus.

"After discussions with the Ukrainian Football Federation, we have decided not to play in Ukraine on March 5 and are planning to move the match to a city in Cyprus," said U.S. Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe. "We are in the final stages of discussions with Ukraine and the Cyprus Football Association to determine the location and kickoff time."

Buethe said the federations hope to finalize plans by Wednesday.

The match was scheduled to be played in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

The Football Federation of Ukraine confirmed the game has been canceled.

"Taking into account the U.S. football federation requested us [sic] for a match outside of Ukraine for security reasons, the football federation of Ukraine has made the decision to hold this game in Cyprus, and not in Kharkiv as it was planned," said a prepared statement by Ukrainian officials.

The Americans desperately want to play the match, as it is intended to serve as a key tune-up ahead of the U.S. team's appearance in this summer's World Cup.

The March 5 calendar date lies in the only FIFA-sanctioned international match window until May, and U.S. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann plans to call up several of his European-based players for the game.

The United States also has scheduled a friendly match April 2 against Mexico in Glendale, Ariz. But the match falls outside a FIFA match window, meaning world soccer's governing body can't force professional clubs to release players for national team duty.

View article comments Leave a comment