Football’s international governing body FIFA, and the UEFA, which runs international matches in Europe, have together imposed a ban on Russia and its club teams from all competition in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
A statement shared by FIFA reads, “… 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.”
It added, “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.”
On Monday, FIFA was criticised over an earlier statement that said Russia could continue to play in neutral venues as the “Football Union of Russia”. Although FIFA had warned Russia that it could be omitted from all competition if the situation in Ukraine did not improve, the statement was widely criticised.
The Polish FA has already said that it would not play Russia, as have England’s FA, and Sweden and the Czech Republic. Russia was scheduled to host Poland in a World Cup qualifying play-off on March 24. If the ban is still in place at that time, Russia would miss out on making it to the World Cup finals.
The joint decision also means that Spartak Moscow’s Europa League game against RB Leipzig will not be played, taking the German club to the quarterfinals.
FIFA have said a decision on the Russia women’s team, which has qualified for the Euro 2022 women’s tournament in England, will be taken at a later date.
The Russian Football Federation said in a statement that it “categorically disagreed” with the decision, adding that it was against the spirit of sports. “It has an obvious discriminatory character and harms a huge number of athletes, coaches, employees of clubs and national teams, and most importantly, millions of Russian and foreign fans, whose interests international sports organisations must protect in the first place,” the statement said.
The federation has added that it has reserved the right to challenge the decision according to international sports law.