Fifa gives Georgia green light
Football's world governing body gives Georgia the all-clear to host World Cup qualifiers.
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2008 14:28 GMT

Kakha Kaladze, right, who plays for AC Milan was not impressed with the original Fifa ruling [AFP]
Fifa, football's world governing body, has given the all clear for Georgia to once again host World Cup qualifying matches.

Georgia was judged too dangerous to stage international football matches earlier this month in the aftermath of five days of fighting with neighboring Russia in a territorial dispute over the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The Georgians are scheduled to play Cyprus on October 11 and Bulgaria four days later at the 54,000-capacity Boris Paichadze National Stadium in the capital Tbilisi.

Safe atmosphere

"FIFA will remain in close contact with the Georgian Football Federation," the organisation said in a statement, "but for the time being sees no indication suggesting organization and security standards will not be maintained for these matches."

Georgia opened its World Cup qualifying campaign on September 6 with a 2-1 loss to Ireland at the German city of Mainz after the Irish asked Fifa to switch the match to a neutral venue.

No threat

Georgia captain Kakha Kaladze had criticized Fifa's decision to move the match.

"There is no civil war in Georgia," Kaladze said.

"We are not dangerous.

"What would happen if we played in the Tbilisi stadium? Nothing.

"It would only be a festival for thousands of people that are suffering."

Tough road ahead

Georgia is bottom of the standings in Group 8 of European qualifying for the 2010 Word Cup in South Africa after losing its second match 2-0 at defending champion Italy.

Domestic football in Georgia has also resumed after being affected by the hostilities.

The Umaglesi Liga kicked off three weeks late on September 13 with 11 teams,
including Spartaki Tskhinvali representing the South Ossetian capital.

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