Early Lead: Ukraine’s political strife is affecting its sports leagues

By Marissa Payne, March 4, 2014

The political crisis in Ukraine is affecting more than the the country’s international relations — it’s also affecting its soccer and hockey seasons.

Regarding the former, confusion erupted Monday night after rumors spread that Ukraine’s soccer federation president, Anatoliy Konkov, would not be sending the national team to Cyprus for a March 5 exhibition game against the United States. Last week, Konkov was forced to move the game from Kharkiv, Ukraine, to Cyprus because of safety concerns. However, several reports that surfaced Monday night claimed Konkov canceled the game after Reuters published a statement Konkov made on Ukraine’s ICTV channel: “If we do not have an opportunity to play on home soil, why shall we go to Cyprus in those troubled times for your country? We play for our people and country. Our team do not fly to Cyprus and stay at home.”

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