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Kick offs delayed in call for peace, says Italian FA

Football matches across Italy will kick off with a five-minute delay this weekend in a “call for peace”, the country’s football federation announced Friday.

In a statement, the FIGC said that professional and amateur matches would kick off late for “respect of human life and the necessity to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine”.

Russia launched a full-scale invasion of eastern European neighbour Ukraine on Thursday, with Russian troops fighting at the gates of capital city Kiev on Friday morning.

The FIGC statement did not mention Russia nor war, and the president Gabriele Gravina said that Italian football was “very worried about what is happening right now”.

“Sport doesn’t do politics but calls loudly for peace,” said Gravina.

On Friday this season’s Champions League final was stripped from Saint Petersburg and moved to Paris.

UEFA also announced that Russian and Ukrainian clubs and national teams competing in international competitions must play home matches at neutral venues “until further notice”.

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