Football Association of Wales monitoring situation ahead of Baku match

Ryan Giggs says the Football Association of Wales is monitoring the escalating conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, with the Dragons due to play two Euro 2020 matches in Baku next summer.

The two former Soviet republics have been locked for decades in a conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a 1,700 square mile enclave in the Caucasus Mountains.

The disputed region is less than 200 miles from the Azerbaijani capital Baku.

A separatist war fought there between 1988 and 1994 left nearly 40,000 people dead and hostilities between the two nations resumed last weekend, killing dozens and leaving scores wounded.

Wales’ opening two games at the delayed 2020 European Championship next June, against Switzerland and Turkey, are at the Olympic Stadium in Baku.

Asked if the FAW might speak to UEFA about the worsening situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, Wales manager Giggs said: “Yeah, I think you have to be flexible in this day and age with the way things are going.

“The world we’re living in at the moment, with Covid-19 as well, things change daily.

Armenia Azerbaijan
Armenia Azerbaijan

“We have to just assess everything regarding the Euros the closer we get to it.

“But you have to be prepared for change and to be flexible.”

Giggs has become a regular visitor to Azerbaijan over the last year as Wales won 2-0 in Baku last November on their way to Euro 2020 qualification.

The former Manchester United star has since made the 6,000-mile round trip to check out training facilities and hotels ahead of next summer’s pan-Europe finals.

Azerbaijan v Wales – UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying – Group E – Bakcell Arena
Azerbaijan v Wales – UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying – Group E – Bakcell Arena

He says he will decide at the start of next year whether or not to make another pre-tournament journey to Azerbaijan.

“I’ve already been, but it’s something I’ll have to think about after the new year in terms of whether I’m going to go (again),” Giggs said.

“I’ve already seen the hotel, where we’re going to train and play. But it’s something I’m going to revisit after the new year.

“Obviously we’ve got the Nations League games before that, and I’m sure at the turn of the year my thoughts will be going more towards the Euros.”