Exhibition still set for March 5 in Ukraine
The friendly between the U.S and Ukraine scheduled for March 5 is still set to go ahead, despite the continuing unrest in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, a U.S. Soccer spokesman said Tuesday.
Protests against Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovich, which first started 12 weeks ago, turned violent earlier on Tuesday with news reports stating that at least 18 people had died with over 100 injured. But at this point the match, set to take place approximately 300 miles to the east in Kharkiv, remains on the calendar.
"We are in communication with the State Department and are monitoring the situation in Ukraine," said U.S. Soccer spokesperson Neil Buethe via email. "We are still planning on playing the game on March 5."
Buethe added that the U.S. team currently plans to train in Frankfurt, Germany for two days prior to the match, and then will travel by charter directly to Kharkiv without having to stop in Kiev.
As far as any contingency plans are concerned, including the possibility of playing the game at a neutral venue should playing in Ukraine be deemed not possible, Buethe stated, "We have not discussed exact specifics, but we will consider all possible options if needed."
The last time a friendly involving the U.S. team was canceled came three years ago, when a match against Egypt was scrapped due to the political unrest taking place in that country at the time.