Fans urged to drink whisky to ward off swine flu

MOSCOW Mon Aug 3, 2009 1:24pm EDT

Bottles of malt whisky are displayed at a whiskey merchandising event in Tokyo February 10, 2008. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Bottles of malt whisky are displayed at a whiskey merchandising event in Tokyo February 10, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Issei Kato

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian soccer fans have been told to drink whisky on their trip to Wales for next month's World Cup qualifier to ward off the H1N1 swine flu virus, the head of the country's supporter association (VOB) said Monday.

"We urge our fans to drink a lot of Welsh whisky as a form of disinfection," VOB head Alexander Shprygin told Reuters.

"That should cure all symptoms of the disease."

Russia's Health Ministry has issued a public warning against traveling to Britain because of the spread of the H1N1 virus but Shprygin said he expected at least several hundred fans would go to Wales for the September 9 qualifier in Cardiff.

"Health officials say this virus is very dangerous but being a fan myself I can tell you that for a real fan nothing is more important than the well-being of the team," said Shprygin, who also sits on the executive board of the Russian FA.

"Russian fans don't fear anything or anybody so this virus will not stand in our way of supporting our team."

The Russian FA also said health issues should not prevent fans from traveling.

"We don't want our team to be without any support for such an important match so we urge our fans to go to Wales despite the health warning," a spokesman said.

Germany lead European Group Four with 16 points from six games, one ahead of Russia, with Wales in fourth place on nine points from seven matches.

(Editing by Alison Wildey

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