New Delhi: India are trying to “avoid” playing Belarus in a friendly football match on March 26 after the country entangled itself in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by extending support to it.
India were to take on Bahrain on March 23 and efforts are on to replace Belarus with another country for the March 26 game in Manama amid a global sporting boycott of Russia and, in some cases, Belarus on the International Olympic Committee’s call.
“We are trying to avoid Belarus if possible in the light of these developments. We are trying to get another team for the second friendly on March 26 in Manama,” an All India Football Federation (AIFF) source told PTI.
“Since not many days are left it can be difficult and we are also trying to have Bahrain back-to-back. There is some confusion.”
“Since FIFA has not suspended Belarus, there is no automatic cancellation of the friendly. If Belarus is banned by FIFA we cannot play them. But, as of now, the match against Belarus is still on,” he added.
FIFA has suspended Russia but has not announced any such measure for Belarus as yet.
The games against Bahrain and Belarus are a part of India’s preparation for the Asian Cup final round qualifiers in Kolkata in June.