NYON, Switzerland (AP) – Big-spending Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala has criticized UEFA after the governing body judged the team's Dagestan province home unsafe for Europa League matches.
Anzhi entered UEFA's competition by finishing fifth in the Russian league last season, after signing Samuel Eto'o and Roberto Carlos, and hiring Guus Hiddink as coach.
It must find another Russian stadium to host a second qualifying round match on July 19 against Flamurtari Vlore of Albania or Honved of Hungary.
Anzhi says UEFA's executive committee decision "'contradict(s) the values claimed by UEFA."' It was reached without talking to the club or visiting ''to verify whether it's possible or not to hold matches in a city.''
General director Aivaz Kaziakhmedov also expressed his frustration.
"On behalf of the football club Anzhi I say that we were deeply sorry to accept the UEFA Executive committee's decision about the impossibility of conducting the Europa League matches with our team's participation in our native city Makhachkala," he told the club's official website.
"It's known that this decision is not connected with the sports aspect of the issue at all. The motives of absolutely different, not depending on us, causes are the foundation of the decision.
"Nevertheless, we, the management of football club Anzhi Makhachkala will do our best to observe the interests of our fans, we don't have right to deprive them of a chance to watch their favourite team play. The work in this direction is already in progress."
An Islamic insurgency in the North Caucasus region means the team trains near Moscow and flies to Makhachkala for home games.