The International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) jointly decided to suspend all Russian national teams and clubs from participating in the soccer competitions of both organizations until further notice. This implies the exclusion of Russia from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. It had been scheduled to participate in the repechage to try and qualify.
These measures were adopted on February 28 by the FIFA Council Bureau and the UEFA Executive Committee, respectively, the highest decision-making bodies of both football institutions. The actions were taken in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine initiated on the 24th.
“Football is united and is totally in solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine. Both presidents hope that the situation in Ukraine will improve significantly and quickly so that football can once again be a transmitter of unity and peace between peoples,” the two bodies said in a statement.
The joint resolution of FIFA and UEFA was made public after the recommendation made on Monday by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to associations and competition organizers, so that they “do not invite or allow the participation of Russian or Belarusian athletes or leaders.”
The precedent for a similar sanction occurred on October 1, 1992, when FIFA announced the expulsion of Yugoslavia from the qualifying phase for the 1994 World Cup in the USA, as a result of the sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro imposed by the UN for the Balkan conflict. It had already been left out of Euro 92, in which Denmark took its place and went on to be the champion.
The Russian team had pending participating in the repechage to opt for one of the three European invitations that remain for the Qatar 2022 World Cup. Their first match was scheduled for March 24 against Poland at home.
If Russia had won its match they would have had to play the winner of the Sweden and Czech Republic match set for March 29th.
In the European League, the Russian team, Spartak Moscow, qualified for the quarterfinals in which they were paired with the German Leipzig Club, to play on March 10 and 17.
So far, the federations of England, Albania, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, Poland, Norway, Scotland, Switzerland, Sweden, France and Wales have announced that they will not face Russia in any competition and category.
After a meeting of its Council Bureau on Sunday, FIFA had already announced a series of measures against Russia, including that no international competition be held on its territory, in addition to vetoing its flag and anthem.
According to these measures Russia could only play under the name “Russian Football Union (RFU)” and their matches as a home team would be played on a neutral field and without an audience.
The recommendation made today by the IOC, and already adopted by international federations of other sports in addition to FIFA, aims to “protect the integrity of global sports competitions and the safety of all participants.”
The organization maintained that its desire is “not to punish athletes for the decisions of their government if they do not actively participate in them,” but qualified that “the current war in Ukraine puts the Olympic Movement in a dilemma.”
“While athletes from Russia and Belarus could continue to participate in sports competitions, many athletes from Ukraine are prevented from doing so due to the attack on their country,” the IOC stressed.
On February 25th, after the entry of Russian troops into Ukraine, UEFA had already decided that St. Petersburg will not host the next finals of the Champions League on May 28 and chose the Stade de France Saint-Denis in Paris as the new venue of the competition.
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