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FIFA Agrees on Mainz for Georgia-Ireland World Cup Qualifier

Due to the on-going instability in the Caucasus region, Georgia's national soccer team will now play its World Cup home qualifier against the Republic of Ireland in the German city of Mainz.

The Georgian team which played Germany in 2006: First row (l-r): George Demetradze, Otar Martsvaladze, Zurab Menteshashvili, Levan Kobiashvili, Jaba Kankava. Second row: (l-r): Dato Kvirkvelia, Zurab Khizanishvili, Kakha Kaladze, Mate Ghvinianidze, Levan Tskhitishvili and goalkeeper Giorgio Lomaia.

Georgia has opted for a German location for its neutral World Cup qualifier venue

The military conflict between Georgia and Russia over the breakaway South Ossetia province earlier this month prompted the world soccer governing body FIFA to move the Sept. 6 European Group Eight qualifier out of Tbilisi to a neutral venue.

FIFA had given the Georgian soccer federation (GFF) until Tuesday to nominate a venue. The GFF had several options but decided on Karlsruhe, general secretary Ucha Ugulava told Reuters news agency.

But after FIFA met on Wednesday to discuss the decision, it was decided that Georgia would play their World Cup qualifier against Ireland next week in the German city of Mainz.

Karlsruhe, it was decided, could not host the game at such short notice.

Georgia agreed Thursday with FIFA's alternative and will now face Ireland in German second division club FSV Mainz's 20,000-capacity Bruchweg stadium.

Georgia faces an even tougher task than the Irish on Sept. 10 when they travel to Udine to play world champions Italy in their next qualifier.

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