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Should Canada abort Antalya date with Belarus?

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According to FIFA’s international match calendar, Canada’s senior men’s team will face Belarus March 29 in Antalya, Turkey.

But FIFA announced Monday that it is investigating two international friendlies that were played in the Mediterranean resort. Last Wednesday, Estonia drew Bulgaria 2-2 and Latvia defeated Bolivia 2-1 in a doubleheader played in Antalya. In those two games, all seven goals were scored on penalties.

The Canadian Soccer Association has yet to announce the March 29 date; but the CSA has stated the match will see Canada play an opponent on neutral ground.

But, does Canada need the headache and/or suspicion? Remember that WikiLeaks already released information about Bulgarian referee Anton Genov, who blew for four penalties in a December, 2009 game between Canada and Macedonia. The last thing our nation needs is to be involved in another game that’s suspected of being fixed — even if the corruption has nothing to do with our association.

Antalya has created a cottage industry for itself as being a training ground for international and club teams. Toronto FC just finished a series of three games there against Partizan Belgrade, Red Star Belgrade and Dinamo Zagreb. And, yes, before all three of those games, betting lines were available on most of the international gambling sites.

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