The International Football Association (FIFA) suspended Russia and its teams from all competitions on Monday, knocking the country out of qualification for the 2022 World Cup just weeks before it plays one of the European final places in this year’s tournament in Qatar.
The suspension, announced on Monday evening in coordination with European football’s governing body, also banned Russian club teams from participating in international competitions. The decision came a day after FIFA was harshly criticized for not going far enough in punishing Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, and amid an escalation. Demands from the national federations to work stronger.
Initial pressure for a total ban on Russia came from football officials in Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic, whose national team faced the prospect of playing against Russia in a World Cup playoff in March. Other countries and officials, including the federations representing France, England and United StateSoon, they said that they would not play against Russia under any circumstances.
FIFA and its European counterpart, UEFA, have said the ban on Russia will be in effect “until further notice”.
FIFA said: “Football is united here and in full solidarity with all those affected in Ukraine.” a permit. The Ukrainian team, which is set to play Scotland in World Cup qualifiers in March, will remain in the competition.
Then UEFA went so far as to sever its deep ties with Russia: it announced that it had terminated a sponsorship agreement with the Russian energy giant Gazprom. The deal is worth $50 million annually for European football.
UEFA was last week Stripped of St. Petersburg, home of Gazprom, in this year’s Champions League final. The match will be played in France instead.
FIFA and UEFA decided to ban Russia just hours after the International Olympic Committee called on international sports federations to ban Russian athletes and teams from all global sporting events where possible. Olympic officials said Russia violated a commitment – known as the Olympic Truce, signed before the start of the Beijing Winter Games and scheduled to take place during the Paralympics that opened this week – when it invaded Ukraine.
Understand the Russian attack on Ukraine
What is the origin of this invasion? Russia considers Ukraine from the inside its natural sphere of influenceHe has been exasperated by Ukraine’s proximity to the West and the possibility of the country joining NATO or the European Union. While Ukraine is not part of either, it receives financial and military aid from the United States and Europe.
The direct consequence of Russia’s soccer ban is that it will lose its place in a group of four teams in one of Europe’s final World Cup spots. Poland, which was due to play Russia in March in Moscow, had categorically stated that it would refuse to enter the stadium for the match, a position it repeated after FIFA announced its initial sanctions list on Sunday night.
Cesare Kuleza, president of the Polish Football Association, described FIFA’s initial decision not to expel Russia as “completely unacceptable”. He added in a post on Twitter: “We are not interested in participating in this game of appearance. Our position remains intact: the Polish national team will not play with Russia, regardless of the name of the team.”
Sweden and the Czech Republic, two teams that could have met Russia – also in Moscow – if the Russians beat Poland, said they, too, would refuse to play, even in a neutral position.
The unlimited ban on Russia also extends to club teams, meaning that Spartak Moscow, the last remaining participant in a continental competition, will no longer be able to compete in the Europa League knockout match against Germany’s RB Leipzig. That match was already in doubt before Monday’s decision, with officials unsure how the Russian team would travel after UEFA issued a blanket ban on Russian flights to the 27-member confederation.
It remains unclear whether the decision to exclude Russia will face a challenge in the courts. Russia, as well as some of its athletes, have succeeded in recent years in combating exclusion from other events, including the Olympics, by mitigating penalties through appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
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