Russia set to be banned from all international football

Russia set to be banned from all international football

SportFootballFifa have imposed a suspension which effectively cuts Russia from the men’s 2022 World Cup and Women’s Euro 2022

Russia pose before a 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifiers in Cyprus

(AFP via Getty Images)

Fifa have confirmed the suspension of Russia’s national teams from international football and all club sides from Fifa and Uefa competitions until further notice.

Russia were due to play Poland on 24 March in Europe’s World Cup qualifying play-off semi-finals, but the ban will likely eliminate them from the process and end their hopes of reaching Qatar 2022, scheduled for November and December this year. It also stands to mean Russia cannot compete in this summer’s Women’s Euro 2022, hosted by England in July.

Additionally, it will mean Spartak Moscow’s elimination from the Europa League, where they were due to face RB Leipzig in the round of 16.

Pressure began to grow on Fifa to act when Poland refused to play against Russia. Other football associations including England, Scotland and Wales followed suit in announcing they too would boycott any games with Russia.

A statement from Fifa 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.”

Fifa has reacted slowly to the war in Ukraine, announcing a series of “initial measures” which would have forced Russia to play home matches at a neutral venue, to go by the name “Football Union of Russia”, and to play without the Russian flag or the national anthem, equivalent to the type of measures the International Olympic Committee issued Russia for doping offences. And football’s global governing body stopped short of an outright ban.

However, these proposals were labelled “unacceptable” by the Polish FA president Cezary Kulesza. “In the situation of war in Ukraine, we are not interested in the game of appearances,” he said. “Our position remains unchanged: the national team Polish will NOT play against Russia in the play-off match, regardless of the name of the Russian team.”

On Monday the International Olympic Committee’s executive board recommended international sports federations ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from competing in events. The IOC said the executive board made the decision “in order to protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants”.

Reuters

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