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Belarusian Premier League keeps playing soccer

Former Arsenal and Barcelona star Alexander Hleb wonders if some of soccer’s greatest stars will come play in his native country for the Belarusian Premier League.

As the rest of the world is on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, Belarus remains “the only place in Europe you can play football.” 

“In Belarus, it’s like no one cares (about coronavirus). It’s incredible,” Hleb, who retired in 2019, told The Sun and Fox Sports Australia. “All the world now watches the Belarusian league. Everybody should go to their television and see us. 

“When the NHL closed the season, a lot of ice hockey players went to Russia to play. Maybe Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo might come to the Belarus league to continue. You know?”

Europe’s UEFA Champions League has suspended play like so many major sports leagues around the world, including American leagues such as the NBA, NHL, MLB and NCAA. Belarus, a landlocked country in Eastern Europe bordered by Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, is the last European nation on the continent still playing. 

Players in action during the Belarusian Premier League soccer match between Isloch and Neman Grodno in Minsk, Belarus, March 21, 2020.  Belarus didn't suspend soccer games, as most of European countries due to the coronavirus COVID19 pandemic. Belarus plans to hold all soccer matches, as scheduled, local media reports.

“The coronavirus has closed the Champions League and the Europa League,” Hleb said. “This is good, because you have to try and stop (the coronavirus pandemic). UEFA have done the right thing. … It’s very difficult to explain our country. All leagues have closed but we don’t seem to think it’s a problem. Why? I don’t know. Everybody’s been training as normal, getting ready for the new season. They just don’t care.”

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