The United States vs. Ukraine soccer friendly scheduled to be played in Kharkiv, Ukraine on March 5 has been relocated to Cyprus, according to a statement on the website of the Football Federation of Ukraine.
The United States Soccer Federation, in a statement, said:
“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. We are in the final stages of discussions with Ukraine and the Cyprus Football Association to determine the location and kickoff time. We hope to have confirmation on all the match details by Wednesday.”
Last week, the world watched as a popular uprising set Ukraine’s capital Kiev on fire, leaving scores of dead and injured protesters and resulting in the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled the capital. On Monday, the Ukrainian parliament issued a warrant for his arrest.
— Michael J. Buell (@buell003) February 22, 2014
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) February 21, 2014
— TheTweetest (@AtweetN) February 20, 2014
Even though Yanukovych’s whereabouts are unknown, he was believed to be hiding in the vicinity of Kharkiv, where the United States was to play the friendly against Ukraine as part of its preparation for the World Cup and Pro-Yanukovych demonstrations have occurred.
The United States Department of State issued a travel warning to the Ukraine for American citizens:
“US citizens are to defer all non-essential travel to Ukraine during the transition period following the departure of the president from Kiev on February 22 and while a new government is formed.”
This is not the only sporting event that has been affected by the uprising in Ukraine. On Thursday a Dynamo Kiev-Valencia UEFA Europa League game was also moved to Cyprus.
As it always does with foreign travel, the USA Men’s Soccer team has consulted with the State Department as to what the safest decision is in this case.
Even though the venue has changed, everything else remains the same and the United States will prepare for the match as previously planned and for coach Jurgen Klinsmann the friendly will be the last opportunity to call any player he wishes to be part of the national team.
According to Klinsmann, the United States soccer team that goes to play in Brazil later this summer, will be made up of European based players, as the MLS stars are getting ready for their season opener. The final team roster is expected to be announced later this week.