Trapattoni backing Georgia switch

August 13, 2008

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has given his backing to the bid to seek a neutral venue for his country's World Cup qualifier against Georgia next month.

The fixture, which is due to take place in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi on September 6, had been thrown into question because of the conflict between Georgia and Russia over the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

The Football Association of Ireland wrote to FIFA, UEFA and the Georgian federation to ask that the venue of the tie be changed and Italian boss Trapattoni told www.fai.ie: 'It is a sad situation in Georgia and I would like to thank FIFA for thinking about that and we will wait to see what FIFA decide.

'I know that FIFA will think about the calendar and, for me, it is important that the game will be played on September 6.'

The UEFA Cup second qualifying round tie between WIT Georgia and Austria Vienna will now be a one-legged affair due to the hostilities in Georgia.

WIT had hoped to switch the first leg - scheduled to be played tomorrow - to Rize in Turkey but the Georgian federation does not feel it is safe for WIT's team and staff to travel.

A ceasefire has now been agreed between Russia and Georgia, but the FAI may still have misgivings about travelling to Tbilisi in the current climate.

The Football Association of Wales are also expected to know today whether a Georgian team will be travelling to Swansea for next week's friendly match.