Syria to find neutral qualifier site

Updated: May 18, 2011, 10:11 AM ET
Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Syria is searching for a neutral venue to hold its 2012 Olympics qualifier after FIFA ruled the country was unsafe because of ongoing anti-government protests.

The first leg was originally scheduled to be played June 19 at Al Abbassiyin Stadium in Damascus. However, FIFA informed the Syrian FA that it had decided to move the match against Turkmenistan to a neutral venue after taking into account "the very exceptional security circumstances still prevailing in Syria."

Syria says it will come up with a neutral venue this week.

Since mid-March, Syria has launched a violent crackdown against protesters that rights groups say has left more than 850 people dead. Thousands more have been detained.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press