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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian Soccer Union Upset Over Wembley Match Snub




Russian soccer officials and local media criticized England on Monday for choosing Ukraine over Russia to play a friendly international at Wembley Stadium on May 31.


"Obviously, we're disappointed how the English Football Association handled the whole thing," said Alexander Tukhmanov, executive director of the Russian Soccer Union.


"It was the FA that proposed to us playing the match in the first place. We agreed right away and sent our confirmation, but then they changed their mind. It's really disappointing."


Last week, Ukraine revealed it had been chosen by England to play the last international at Wembley before the stadium is rebuilt.


"You should not always trust the English officials," said Russia's Sport Express newspaper, printing a photocopy of the letter sent by FA executive director David Davies to RFU head Vyacheslav Koloskov.


The letter said the FA "have now reached an agreement with another Association to play at Wembley Stadium on May 31."


Russia's team manager Mikhail Gershkovich said: "I can only [think] that they just didn't want to face a strong team before the Euro 2000 finals. They chose Malta for early May and have now picked Ukraine, who I think are a weaker team than Russia."


English FA spokesman Adrian Bevington refuted the Russian claims.


"We were considering a number of options but only ever had an agreement with the Ukraine.


"I think everyone would accept that the Ukraine are a very strong side and certainly not an easy game for us."


Last year, Ukraine pipped Russia in the Euro 2000 qualifiers, winning 3-2 in Kiev and posting a 1-1 draw in Moscow.