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Grozny to host Russian Premier League soccer

MOSCOW, March 6 (RIA Novosti) - Russian soccer authorities have granted Terek FC the right to host Premier League matches in Grozny, the capital of the Chechen Republic.

A Russian Football Union commission took the decision to permit Terek to play at their Sultan Bilimkhanov stadium on Thursday. The first match will take place on March 14, when the side face Krilya Sovetov.

Terek Grozny FC, named after the river that flows through the capital and onto the slopes of Mount Kazbek, were formed in 1946. However, in the mid-1990s the team was forced to disband, due to the escalating violence in the Chechen Republic. Terek last played in the Premier League in 2005, but were relegated the same season. They played their home games that year in the town of Pyatigorsk in the North Caucasus.

The Sultan Bilimkhanov stadium has a capacity of 10,200. Terek plan however to build a new, 30,000-capacity stadium in the near future.

The Chechen side will not be able to play European ties at the stadium should they qualify for the Champions League or the UEFA Cup. In 2004, after winning the Russian Cup, Terek played their UEFA Cup matches in Moscow.

The team's former president, Akhmad Kadyrov, father of the current Chechen and Terek president, Ramzan Kadyrov, was killed in Grozny in a Victory Day attack in 2004 by forces loyal to the late notorious militant commander Shamil Basayev.

Moscow has substantially scaled down the number of federal troops in the republic since two anti-separatist military campaigns in 1994-1996 and 1999-2001. However, periodic bomb attacks and clashes between militants and federal troops still occur in Chechnya and nearby republics, notably Ingushetia, which has seen a marked increase in militant activity of late.

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