Tuesday 18 June 2019

Visa problems could scupper Georgia friendly with Wales

Problems over visas could finally end the chances of Wales hosting next week's friendly with Georgia in Swansea.

The Football Association of Wales, after lengthy discussions today with their Georgian counterparts and the Foreign Office in London, have given Georgia another 24 hours to prove they can fulfil next Wednesday's fixture at the Liberty Stadium.

Georgia still desperately want to play the match, as much as to make a political statement as well as to prove to FIFA that they are still able to function as a football authority.

But the problem now is that because the British embassy in Tbilisi is shut indefinitely following the conflict with Russia, it is impossible for the Georgians to acquire visas to enter the UK.

The FAW, for a range of administrative issues, need to know by tomorrow whether they can go ahead with preparations for the fixture.

In a statement from the FAW today, they said: ``The FAW has agreed to give the Georgia Football Federation a further 24 hours to try to resolve their travel issues for the match.

``Talks have been held with the Foreign Office, as the British Embassy in Tbilisi is closed due to the recent hostilities.

``Georgian nationals must have a visa to visit the UK. It is possible that the British Embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan may be able to assist.

``The Georgians are still very keen to see the match played and the FAW support them in that view. However, it is agreed that a final decision must be taken to give everyone as much notice as possible."

If visas can be obtained from the British embassy in Baku, the squad will have to fly to the Azerbaijani capital to collect them, and then continue their journey to London.

The Georgians also have major problems now over the staging of their World Cup qualifier with the Republic of Ireland in Tbilisi next month.

The Irish have asked for the match to be moved to a neutral venue,and FIFA are considering the request.

Manager Giovanni Trapattoni has given his backing to this request.

The fixture, due to take place in the Georgian capital on September 6, had been thrown into question because of the conflict between Georgia and Russia.

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