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Paraguay’s football squad refuses playing friendly match in Ukraine

August 26, 2014, 12:39 UTC+3 BUENOS AIRES

“The Paraguayan delegation is not traveling for the match [in Ukraine] due to combat actions in the country,” Paraguayan Football Association says

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Paraguay national football team (archive)

Paraguay national football team (archive)

© EPA/Andrés Cristaldo

BUENOS AIRES, August 26. /ITAR-TASS/. The Paraguayan Football Association (PFA) announced on Tuesday that the country’s national team refused to play an away friendly match against the Ukrainian team next week citing security issues in the former Soviet republic.

“The Paraguayan delegation is not traveling for the match [in Ukraine] due to combat actions in the country,” the association said in its statement.

The PFA asked the Ukrainian side to relocate the friendly match, initially scheduled to be held in Ukraine’s capital of Kiev on September 3, to a neutral territory.

Ukraine’s security concerns surged last month among foreign footballers playing for Ukrainian football clubs.

Six foreign players from the Dontesk Shakhtar FC skipped the plane back to Ukraine after a friendly against Lyon FC on July 19 and decided to remain in France rather than returning to conflict stricken Ukraine. They cited security concerns.

The players refusing to travel back to Ukraine were Brazilian's Douglas Costa, Fred, Dentinho, Alex Teixiera, Ismaily and Argentinian Facundo Ferreyra, who had their combined transfer deals at the Shakhtar FC worth a total of 57 million euros ($77 million).

Several days later three Argentinian football players from the Kharkiv FC, namely midfielders Alejandro Gomez, Jose Sosa and forward Jonatan Cristaldo, decided against returning to conflict-hit Ukraine and stay in their country and they also cited security concerns.

Troops loyal to Kiev and local militias in the eastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions are involved in fierce clashes as the Ukrainian armed forces are conducting a military operation to regain control over the breakaway territories, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums and now call themselves the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s republics.

During the military operation, conducted since mid-April, Kiev has used armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. Hundreds of civilians have been killed in it. Many buildings have been destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s embattled southeast.

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