MOSCOW, November 27. /TASS/. Russia has asked UEFA to pay special attention to security issues at the Champions League match in Belgium’s city Ghent between FC Zenit St. Petersburg and the local football club set for December 9, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Friday.
Ghent Mayor Daniel Termont earlier banned the Russian club’s fans from attending the match to avoid conflicts as Ghent has a large Turkish diaspora.
"Of course, this is not normal. Under FIFA and UEFA rules, 10% of tickets can be given to the guest team," Mutko told TASS. "If the city authorities cannot ensure security, the match should be held at another stadium. I’ve already made this proposal to UEFA."
FC Zenit general director Maxim Mitrofanov also proposed the match to be moved to a neutral place, adding that he was "surprised with the Ghent mayor’s statement."
However, UEFA said holding the December 9 match in other city was out of the question.
Zenit’s request follows Tuesday’s downing of the Russian Su-24 bomber in Syria by the Turkish air force, which led to aggravation of bilateral ties between Moscow and Ankara.
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that the incident would have "serious consequences" for Russian-Turkish relations.
Some 200,000 Turkish migrants currently live in Belgium, and 50% of them reside in Ghent and Antwerp.
KAA Gent fans were earlier banned from attending the club’s match with FC Lyon amid terrorist threat.