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Russia, Georgia End Soccer Standoff Following 2008 War: UEFA

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Russia's national team players bottom row from the left: Victor Faizulin, Dmitry Kombarov, Denis Glushakov, Alexander Kerzhakov, Alexander Samedov, top row from the left: Alexander Kokorin, Alexey Kozlov, Vasili Berezutsky, Sergey Ignashevich, Igor Akinfeev, and Roman Shirokov pose for a photo prior their World Cup Group F qualifying soccer match between Russia and Azerbaijan in Baku, Azerbaijan, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013. | ASSOCIATED PRESS

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Russia and Georgia have ended their refusal to play soccer matches against each other since fighting a brief war in 2008.

UEFA President Michel Platini says the two national soccer federations announced they are willing to play.

The agreement comes before next month's qualifying groups draw for the 2016 European Championship, and Russia's hosting of the Sochi Olympics near its Georgian border.

Platini says "I'm very pleased to say that the Russians and Georgians can play together if they are in the same group."

UEFA has kept Russia and Georgia apart in all national team competitions since the August 2008 conflict on the eve of the Beijing Olympics.

The Euro 2016 qualifying draw in Nice, France, will be held on Feb. 23 — the final day of the Winter Olympics.

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