Russia v Ukraine to take place in Belgrade

The Rugby League European Championship B fixture between Ukraine and Russia will take place in Belgrade, Serbia, on July 4.

The game will be staged at the Makis Stadium with a 6pm kick off, as part of the RLEF Congress in Belgrade.

The teams are currently in second and fourth place in European Championship B, and there is ongoing political tension between their governments due to the situation in the Crimea.

“Ukrainians and Russians are brotherly, friendly people,” said Ukraine RL federation president Artur Martyrosyan.

“What is happening between the leadership of the nations defies explanation. We all hope that the situation will improve soon and that we will once more be able to play rugby league against each other in our own countries.

“In the meantime, we wish to extend our thanks to our Serbian friends who have stepped in as hosts.

“Let us hope that this show of unity between our three federations will be a worthy example for others. Sport has always united, and when a sport as hard as rugby league serves to bring people together, the message is all that stronger.”

Radoslav Novakovic, Serbian RLF Board member and Belgrade Rugby League Federation chairman added: “If anyone knows what it means to be denied to represent your country because of politics, we in Serbia do.

“We wanted to help our friends and if the world looks at Ukraine versus Russia as something more than the game, we can show that rugby league is more than the sport.

“The Belgrade Rugby League Federation financially and organizationally support this match.”

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