Football – Russia excluded from the World Cup

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The governing body of world football has excluded the Russian selection from international competitions, including the World Cup. Russian clubs are also concerned.

Gianni Infantino (left), President of FIFA, and Vladimir Putin (right), President of Russia, side by side during the 2018 World Cup.


Russia has been ruled out of the World Cup by its host, FIFA, which on Monday announced the suspension of national teams and Russian clubs “so far” in response to the invasion of Ukraine, in a joint statement with UEFA. The Russians, the hosts of the last World Cup in 2018, are therefore disqualified from the playoffs in the next edition, which they were to play at the end of March with a ticket in play for the tournament in Qatar (November 21-December). 18). In addition, their female selection will not be able to play the European Championships in England in July. Spartak Moscow, the last Russian club involved in the Europa Cup this season, is also excluded from the Europa League before meeting RB Leipzig in the quarter-finals.

“Football here is fully united and with the full support of all concerned in Ukraine. The two presidents (editor’s note: Gianni Infantino for FIFA and Aleksander Ceferin for UEFA) hopes that the situation in Ukraine will improve significantly and quickly, so that football can once again be a vector of unity and peace between peoples, ”FIFA and UEFA jointly explain in a press release.

Russia was due to play the play-off on March 24 against Poland, but the Poles have repeatedly said they will refuse to play it, even on neutral grounds.

FIFA and UEFA thus partially follow the position of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which on Monday recommended the international federations “not to invite” Russian and Belarusian athletes and teams to international sports competitions.

The Russian Federation in “disagreement”

The association said in a statement that it “completely disagrees with FIFA’s and UEFA’s decision to suspend Russian teams from all international matches indefinitely”.

This measure “has a clear discriminatory effect on a large number of athletes, coaches, club or national team staff and, more importantly, on millions of Russian and foreign fans,” she added.

The Russian Federation also confirmed that it “reserves the right to challenge this decision by FIFA and UEFA in accordance with international sports law”, without giving further details.

“Congratulations to FIFA and UEFA”, responded to his Twitter page, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who in this decision sees “a powerful message from the international sports community that we will not tolerate Putin’s heinous attacks on freedom”.

The Euroleague has also suspended the three Russian clubs participating in European basketball’s flagship competition, but the sanctions announced by FIFA and UEFA are the most spectacular realization of the IOC’s recommendation, which breaks with its long tradition of political and geopolitical neutrality: a direct banishment of Russians and Belarusians from world sport as the price of invading Ukraine.

UEFA gets rid of Gazprom

Deprived of the Qatar World Cup, Russia is in isolation from the sports world, pending decisions by the International Paralympic Committee, which planned to speak on Wednesday, two days before the start of the Winter Paralympic Games in Beijing.

Several national federations, including the French world champions, had said they were in favor of a direct exclusion of Russia from the World Cup, a major sporting event in 2022.

On Monday, UEFA also “with immediate effect” severed its partnership with the Russian giant Gazprom, one of its main sponsors since 2012.

The contract was estimated at 40 million euros a year according to specialized media, and covered the Champions League, international competitions organized by UEFA as well as Euro 2024, which will be held in Germany.


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