Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala,
who have splurged millions on the likes of Cameroon striker
Samuel Eto'o and Dutch coach Guus Hiddink, said they have been
banned from playing at home in Europe this season.
The club has written an open letter to UEFA President Michel
Platini saying it was "deeply sorry and surprised" to hear that
it would not be able to stage Europa League matches at its base
in the violence-plagued Dagestan region.
UEFA, which according to Anzhi's letter made the decision
for security reasons, was not immediately available for comment.
"Anzhi has been hosting its home matches in the Russian
championship in Makhachkala for more than 20 years. During this
time, no incident of any gravity has happened in our stadium,"
said the letter written by general director Aivaz Kaziakhmedov.
"The stars of the European and world football, Roberto
Carlos, Samuel Etoo, Yuri Zhirkov, and others enjoy playing for
Anzhi in Makhachkala under the leadership of Guus Hiddink.
"Millions of our fans were waiting for a European match in
Makhachkala as a real festival.
"The owner of the Anzhi club has invested millions to
finance the reconstruction of the stadium, building of a new
ultra-modern football arena in the city, youth football academy
and the construction of seven football centres."
"After such a decision made by UEFA, what shall we do with
all these projects?
"There is just one question left - maybe we'd better stop
this initiative, maybe all this is useless for the football
development and the formation of healthy life-style, solution of
the citizens' social problems."
Anzhi will enter the tournament in the second qualifying
round and will meet the winners of the tie between Flamutari of
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