Next week, the Russian football championship will take the first pause of the season for national team matches. Many players will disperse in their national teams, and the remaining players will have to occupy themselves with something in anticipation of the next round. Usually clubs, in which almost the entire composition remained in the arrangement, hold friendly matches at this time to maintain their shape.
“Rostov” will do the same during the break, but Valery Karpin’s wards will meet with an unusual opponent. The southerners invited the Syrian football team to visit them.
As it became known to RT, the friendly match will be held on September 8 at 18:00 local time. The meeting will be held at the Olympus-2 stadium. The club said that the entrance to the match will be free. The game will also be broadcast on TV channels and in club social networks. Fans will also be able to attend the open training sessions of both teams.
“Rostov” in this match will not be able to help Alexei Ionov and Danil Glebov, called up to the main national team of Russia and her youth, as well as Norwegian Matias Normann, Bulgarian midfielder Ivelin Popov and one of the leaders of the RPL bombing race, Eldor Shomurodov, who are waiting for the national team of Uzbekistan .
Syria's national team takes 87th place in the FIFA ranking. The team is currently participating in the Asian qualifying tournament for the World Cup in 2022. Two years ago, the Syrians already had a chance to be in Russia at the World Cup - they reached the last round of qualification, but lost to Australia.
In an interview with RT, the president of Rostov Artashes Harutyunyants shared the details of the upcoming match and told what significance he would have for football in Syria.
- How did you manage to organize a friendly match with Syria?
- We were offered in July to play a peacekeeping match with the Syrian national team in Damascus. We agreed with the support of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation to host this game, received the consent of the RFU and UEFA to host this match, planned a trip and filled out all the documents.
I am convinced that football should always remain out of politics and without borders. The match in Damascus was supposed to be a good peacekeeping event. After what this country experienced, the game would become a real celebration for people and ordinary citizens.
However, the Syrian Football Association was unable to coordinate the match with FIFA - a refusal was received due to the insecurity of the game in Syria. For our part, we were convinced that our military could provide us with security in Syria.
“Did such a refusal upset you?”
- Let's not forget that in Syria the civil war has been going on for the eighth year already, aggressive actions on the territory of the country exacerbate the humanitarian situation. Largely due to the actions of the Russian military in Syria, statehood has been preserved. Russia is really making significant efforts to stabilize the situation in the region. I hope that the next sporting events with the participation of Syria will help reduce the degree of aggression in this country.
After we realized that there would be no match in Syria, it was decided to invite our Syrian friends to visit Rostov-on-Don. I am convinced that we can still hold the match in Damascus as soon as FIFA agrees on our date.
- How interesting was the idea to Karpin?
- The friendly match between FC Rostov and the Syrian national team is scheduled just in time for the Russian championship, during which the games of the national teams are held. Accordingly, it will be a good game practice for our players.
- This is the first time that players from Syria come to Russia?
- Not really. As part of sports diplomacy, the Syrians have already come to the Krasnodar Territory to conduct summer training camps. I believe that such a practice needs to be developed. Our coaches are ready to share their experience in training football players with their Syrian colleagues. In the future, we plan to establish cooperation with Syria on the joint development of youth and children's sports.
- Why the match will be held not at the Rostov Arena, but at the Olimp-2 stadium.
- We were denied a match at the Rostov Arena. We have a difficult relationship with the management company of the Sport-In stadium. But this is a separate issue, and we would not want to talk about it today.
- Are the Syrians going to broadcast the game in their homeland? Do you expect that now they will worry about Rostov?
- The club systematically approaches the issues of broadcasting the match - a friendly match will be shown on the air of one of the Russian federal television channels, the broadcast will be available on the air of the regional television channel, as well as on all video platforms on the Internet. Accordingly, the Syrians will definitely be able to see the match of their team. I think they will cheer for her. We also expect to see fans of the Syrian national team on the guest platform of the Olympus 2 stadium.
- Is it possible that you will pay a return visit to Syria?
- We are ready to fly to Damascus as soon as FIFA agrees to hold the match in Syria.