Leicester's cup trip to Belgrade brought forward

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The Independent Football

Leicester City must still play their Uefa Cup tie with Red Star Belgrade in the Yugoslav capital - but the date for the first-round, second-leg, game has been brought forward by a week to 21 September.

Leicester City must still play their Uefa Cup tie with Red Star Belgrade in the Yugoslav capital - but the date for the first-round, second-leg, game has been brought forward by a week to 21 September.

John Elsom, the Filbert Street club's chairman, is pleased that European football's ruling body has switched the date, as the original tie would have been played four days after the Yugoslav elections, when tension in Belgrade is expected to be running high. Leicester supporters are being advised not to travel.

Red Star must show they can comply with Uefa's security requirements by a week on Tuesday or risk the match being switched to a neutral venue, Elsom said. "We told Uefa it would be feasible to attend on 21 September," he added, "but we wanted reassurances as regards safety. We needed it to be a certainty that the match should be without risk for our players. Red Star need to provide Uefa with those assurances for the safety of our players, both during and after the match, by Tuesday, 12 September.

"We would have found Sofia an acceptable venue for this game as it is only four hours away from Belgrade, and Red Star played Montpellier there last year. Throughout my negotiations, the Foreign Office have been advising against non-essential travel to Yugoslavia, which implies there is some risk.

"We haven't got everything we would have wished for when we travelled to Uefa headquarters in Geneva, but this scenario is better than the original one as it means we will not be playing in the aftermath of the election.

"We certainly would not want to disobey a Uefa directive as that would mean being thrown out of the competition," added Elsom, in reference to Red Star's need to show they have sufficient security plans in place. "I am sorry for the fans who will not be able to play their part in watching the match."

The first leg takes place at Filbert Street on Thursday 14 September, but Leicester will not be allowed to sell any tickets for the Belgrade leg of the fixture.

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