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Ireland might be spared November trip to Sarajevo for 'losers play-off'

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Ireland manager Stephen Kenny may not face a clash with Bosnia next month. Photo by Jussi Eskola/Sportsfile

Ireland manager Stephen Kenny may not face a clash with Bosnia next month. Photo by Jussi Eskola/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Ireland manager Stephen Kenny may not face a clash with Bosnia next month. Photo by Jussi Eskola/Sportsfile

Stephen Kenny's Republic of Ireland side may be able to avoid an unwanted trip to Sarajevo for a 'losers play-off' friendly next month as Bosnia have asked about dropping their clash with Ireland so they can play Iran instead.

But the FAI will have to find alternative opposition as UEFA will insist that they play a friendly on the date in question as part of the TV deal if the Bosnia fixture is off.

The Republic have two more games to play in the Nations League, away to Wales (Sunday November 15) and at home to Bulgaria (Wednesday November 18). However there is also a proposed game away to Bosnia on Thursday November 12.

When the draw was made for the Euro 2020 playoff semi-finals, it was planned that the beaten sides in the semi-final play-off would also go head-to-head in a friendly, with home advantage to the side who would have been at home in the case of a final.

That would have seen Kenny take his side to Sarajevo. Given the problems with travel to Slovakia and Finland earlier this month, Kenny and his employers would be happy to cut down on travel and no tears would be shed if the Bosnia fixture was called off.

The Bosnians, on a dismal run of form with just one win in the last seven games, also appear to be cool on the fixture and local media have reported that their preference is to play at home to Iran instead of Ireland.

Iran's Bosnian-born coach Dragan Skocic has confirmed that's a possibility. "The match against Bosnia and Herzegovina has not been scheduled yet, but there is a great possibility that we will play against them in November," said Skocic.

Under UEFA regulations, Ireland have to play a friendly on the November 12 date and dropping Bosnia away would free up the opportunity to play at a venue closer to home.

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