Belarus have been forced to relocate their home fixtures following UEFA sanctions. And it is not the closest destination to Minsk that has been chosen: Belarus-Wales and Belarus-Belgium are held in Kazan.
Belarus is on vacation in Tatarstan this week: this afternoon, the Belarusian national team “host” Wales in Kazan, a few days before also facing Belgium. A decision taken by UEFA to overcome the impossibility of playing in Minsk, due to the catastrophic diplomatic situation following the hijacking of a Ryanair civilian plane by the Belarusian government. Easier options existed and we therefore do not know why it is at … 1500km from Minsk that these two qualifying matches are played.
In Russia, it is not even known why Kazan, rather than Moscow or Saint Petersburg, was chosen; Sbornaya certainly plays on September 7 at the Spartak Arena, and played last Wednesday at the Luzhniki Stadium. But even imagining that the lawns of these stadiums must be preserved (a preposterous explanation), the RZD Arena in Lokomotiv or the Gazprom Arena in St. Petersburg remained available – not to mention not playing in Russia, which would have avoided well visa concerns.
Result: Wales play this Sunday in Kazan, and it’s a real “logistical nightmare”, said Robert Page, Wales coach. Three Welsh players did not receive their Russian visa on time (Cooper, Ampadu and Roberts), while the team is already cut off from many executives for injuries and positive tests for Covid-19.
Facing a Belarusian side that has completely changed its face since the arrival of Georgi Kondratiev, the new manager, and was only beaten 1-0 by the Czech Republic, the Welsh could therefore have a more difficult task than expected.
Last detail: this meeting, like Belarus-Belgium, will not take place at the Kazan Arena, Rubin Kazan’s usual stadium and which had notably hosted Brazil-Belgium in 2018, but at the old Central Stadium, which is only used for a long time. to another by the Rubin. No vibrant memories, therefore, for the Red Devils. And, let us remember, no public, again a surprising decision because nothing on paper prevented the Russians from attending the matches.
Belarus in Kazan: the funny decision that sends the Devils and Wales to Tatarstan