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Czech Police Detain Belarusian Soccer Chief

Uladzimer Bazanau (file photo)
Uladzimer Bazanau (file photo)

Czech police have detained the chairman of the Football Federation of Belarus for illegally entering the country, local media report.

Uladzimer Bazanau and his wife are suspected of entering the country without permission to attend a women's World Cup qualifier match between the Czech Republic and Belarus, Czech Denik N online news agency reported on November 30.

Earlier, Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek, quoted by the Belarusian Sports Solidarity Fund, said that Bazanau and his wife would be deported if they were in the country.

They reportedly hold an Italian-issued Schengen visa, which would allow them to enter the Czech Republic.

Bazanau, an ally of strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka, is on a sanctions list of the EU's Baltic member states. Unlike Cyprus, where Bazanau and his wife had visited the day before, the Czech Republic supports the sanctions.

The European Union has placed four rounds of sanctions on Lukashenka's regime over a brutal crackdown on the country's pro-democracy movement in the wake of last year's disputed election.

The bloc is set to adopt a fifth package of sanctions against Belarus this week over allegations Minsk is orchestrating a migrant crisis on the border of Poland and fellow EU members Latvia and Lithuania.

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