FIFA and UEFA have moved to ban Russian clubs and its national teams from footballing competition following Russia’s attacks on Ukraine ordered by president Vladimir Putin
Russia‘s clubs and their national teams have been banned from taking part in footballing competition by FIFA and UEFA until further notice following their country’s attacks on Ukraine ordered by president Vladimir Putin.
The two governing bodies’ decision sees Russia booted out of World Cup qualification in a U-turn move, having initially declared that Valeri Karpin’s side would be allowed to compete in the upcoming play-offs on certain terms.
Those included changing their name to ‘Football Union of Russia’, playing home games on neutral ground and having no reference to Russia at their matches – such as flags or the national anthem.
But the initial decision was promptly slammed by their semi-final opponents, Poland, who had previously confirmed over the weekend that they would boycott the match – scheduled for Thursday, March 24 in Moscow – in support of neighbours Ukraine.
Now Karpin and co’s hopes of featuring in Qatar later this year have been quashed all together, with FIFA and UEFA confirming their decision after days of mounting pressure to adopt a firm stance.
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A joint statement read: “Following the initial decisions adopted by the FIFA Council and the UEFA Executive Committee, which envisaged the adoption of additional measures, FIFA and UEFA have today decided together that all Russian teams, whether national representative teams or club teams, shall be suspended from participation in both FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice.
“These decisions were adopted today by the Bureau of the FIFA Council and the Executive Committee of UEFA, respectively the highest decision-making bodies of both institutions on such urgent matters.
“Football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine. Both Presidents hope that the situation in Ukraine will improve significantly and rapidly so that football can again be a vector for unity and peace amongst people.”
UEFA have also ended their long-running partnership with Russian gas company Gazprom, a prominent sponsor of the Champions League.
President of Poland’s football federation, Cezary Kulesza, pleaded for other nations to join them in boycotting matches against Russia in a letter sent out on Sunday, with the English FA notably joining their stance.
“We are very consistent in this letter: we will not play against the Russian team, wherever that match takes place and whatever the Russian team’s name is,” Kulesza affirmed, as quoted by the PZPN’s website.
“We believe that other federations should join our position. That is why I asked for such a document to be prepared and distributed. We appealed for solidarity and the response has been very strong.
“On Monday morning, I received phone calls from many countries expressing their support. No one has any doubt that the example set by Poland is a good one.
“I am not interested in the game of appearances,” Kulesza added. “There is a real tragedy taking place in Ukraine, people are dying, including sportspersons.
“And they expect us to pretend that Russia is not Russia because it plays under a different name? It was an outrageous proposal and I did not hesitate for one second. In this difficult moment, we must do what is right.
“We Poles understand this, as do the Swedes and the Czechs.”