Slavia Prague cancels game after Slovakian opponent played Russian team

PRAGUE (AP) — Slavia Prague has canceled a warm-up game against Slovan Bratislava because the Slovak champion played a friendly match against Russia’s Dynamo Moscow.

Slovan, which will face Sturm Graz in the playoff of the Europa Conference League next month, played the friendly on Tuesday during its training camp in Qatar.

“It seems we have a different view of the war (against Ukraine)” said Jaroslav Tvrdík, the chairman of Slavia’s board.

The Czech club instead will play another Slovak team, Zlate Moravce, and will donate the proceeds to Ukraine, which was invaded by Russia nearly two years ago.

In a statement Wednesday, Slovan argued it didn’t violate any regulation by playing Dynamo. Director general Ivan Kmotrík Jr. said the club rejected accusations that it “legitimized a military conflict in any way.”

“We’re against any war,” he said.

Kmotrík said athletes should not be discriminated against because of their nationality or origin and added it is right that Russians are allowed to participate in the NHL or WTA and ATP tennis tournaments.

Russia’s clubs have been been banned from European competitions since the invasion. Ukrainian teams have to play their games abroad.

When UEFA and its president Aleksander Ceferin moved in September to reintegrate Russia’s national under-17 teams to its competitions, it provoked a backlash from some European member federations who continued to refuse to let their youth teams play Russia. UEFA withdrew the proposal within two weeks.


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