FIFA has confirmed the suspension of Russia’s national teams from international football and all clubs from FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice.
Russia was due to play Poland on March 24 in the semi-finals of the European World Cup qualifying play-offs, but the ban will likely remove them from the process and end their hopes of reaching Qatar 2022, scheduled for November and December. of this year. It also means that Russia cannot compete in this summer’s Women’s Euro 2022, hosted by England in July.
In addition, it will mean the elimination of Spartak Moscow from the Europa League, where they had to face RB Leipzig in the round of 16.
Pressure began to mount on FIFA to act when Poland refused to play Russia. Other football associations, including England, Scotland and Wales, followed suit by announcing that they too would boycott any games with Russia.
A statement from FIFA said:
“Following initial decisions taken by the FIFA Council and the UEFA Executive Committee, which provided for additional measures to be taken, FIFA and UEFA have today jointly decided that all Russian teams, whether they are national representative teams or club teams will be suspended from participation in FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice.
“These decisions were taken today by the FIFA Council Bureau and the UEFA Executive Committee, respectively, the highest decision-making bodies of both institutions on such urgent matters. “Football is here fully united and in total 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 vector of unity and peace between people.”
FIFA has been slow to react to the war in Ukraine, announcing a series of “initial measures” that would have forced Russia to play home games in a neutral venue, use the name “Russian Football Union” and play without Russia. . flag or the national anthem, equivalent to the type of measures that the International Olympic Committee issued to Russia for doping crimes. And soccer’s world governing body stopped short of banning it outright.
However, these proposals were described as “unacceptable” by the president of the Polish FA, Cezary Kulesza. “In the war situation in Ukraine, we are not interested in the game of appearances,” he said. “Our position remains unchanged: the Polish national team will NOT play against Russia in the play-off match, regardless of the name of the Russian national team.”
On Monday, the executive board of the International Olympic Committee recommended that international sports federations ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from competing in events. The IOC said the executive board made the decision “to protect the integrity of world sporting competitions and the safety of all participants.”