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Belarus plays on as world soccer is put on ice

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 29, 2020 - Duration: 01:24s

Belarus plays on as world soccer is put on ice

Soccer fans in need of their weekly fix are turning to Belarus, home to one of the few professional leagues that is still playing.

David Doyle reports.

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Belarus plays on as world soccer is put on ice

Slutsk.

Smolevichi.

Vitebsk.

These names probably meant nothing to most soccer fans - that is until now.

With professional soccer at a standstill across the world those in need of their weekly fix are turning... to Belarus.

It's one of Europe's least glamorous leagues but it also says it has no intention of postponing or canceling matches.

One reason for that can be found not on the soccer pitch, but on the ice.

President Alexander Lukashenko - he's the one in the black helmet - has downplayed the need for social distancing.

He says quote "it's better to die standing, than to live on your knees".

And that's why fans are still packing stadiums across the country.

Irresponsible, some might say, but good news for sports fans and for the Belarusian Football Federation - which has secured broadcasting deals with ten countries including Israel, India and Russia.

Nikolai Gorshkov, managing director of Smiths Pub in Moscow, says the Belarusian league is a symbol that, despite everything, soccer is still alive.

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