Now is not the time for football - Spartak Moscow striker

Now is not the time for football - Spartak Moscow striker

Spartak Moscow striker Nikita Bazhenov said he more than understood the decision to postpone his side's clash with Russian Premier League leaders Zenit St. Petersburg over the thick smog that has gripped Moscow, RIA Novosti reported.

"Of course we wanted the game to go ahead," he was quoted as saying by sportbox.ru on Saturday. "But now is not the time to play football. It's hard enough to simply go out on the street."

"When you open a window at our training camp there is a smell of burning. It's completely impossible to breath," he added.

As well as the Spartak-Zenit match, the Dynamo Moscow-CSKA Moscow was also put off. Both games were due to be played on Sunday.

Russia's friendly with Bulgaria on August 11 has also been moved from Moscow to St. Petersburg over the smog, which has been caused by peat bog and forest fires raging near the capital.

Carbon monoxide levels were some 6 times higher than normal in Moscow on Saturday, with some estimates saying the amount of pollutants in the air was 16 above the norm.

Doctors have advised residents to stay indoors with the windows closed. However, in a city where temperatures have nudged 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) this week and where air-conditioning is the exception rather than the norm, this has not always been possible.

Health officials have advised people to drape wet sheets over windows if they open them and to wear masks when outside.

Forecasts say the smog is likely to maintain its grip over the capital until at least Tuesday, when wind directions are due to change.

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