FIFA rules Syria unsafe for Olympic qualif

by AP on May 19, 2011

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Syria is searching for a neutral venue to hold its 2012 Olympics qualifier against Turkmenistan after FIFA ruled the country was unsafe due to ongoing anti-government protests.

The first leg was originally scheduled to be played at the Al Abbassiyin Stadium in Damascus on June 19. However, FIFA informed the Syrian FA that it had decided to move the match to a neutral venue after taking into account "the very exceptional security circumstances still prevailing in Syria."

Syria says it will come up with a neutral venue by this week.

Since mid-March, Syria has launched a violent crackdown against protesters that rights groups say has left more than 850 people dead. Thousands more have been detained.