FIFA and UEFA jointly announced on Monday, February 28, that Russia has been suspended from international football until further notice. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) proposed that all Russian and Belarussian athletes be barred from competing in international games.
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 Press Release
The IOC’s executive board made the decision “in order to protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants.”
FIFA had been chastised for its response to Russian aggression in Ukraine. Before the FIFA Council announced on Sunday that Russia would be unable to play matches on home soil and must compete under the name “Football Union of Russia,” their president Gianni Infantino expressed his hope that the conflict would be resolved in time for the World Cup qualifier between Russia and Poland on March 24.
The football organizations of Poland, Sweden, and the Czech Republic all maintained their earlier stance that they would not play a squad representing the country, despite the fact that one of the latter two may face Russia in a qualifying match with a place at Qatar 2022 on the line.
Several other European countries agreed, with France demanding for them to be kicked out of the World Cup.
The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) has joined the chorus of voices calling for Russia to be banned from international football. On Monday, the following was stated in a statement:
“The U.S. Soccer Federation stands united with the people of Ukraine and is unequivocal in our denunciation of the heinous and inhumane invasion by Russia. We will neither tarnish our global game, nor dishonor Ukraine, by taking the same field as Russia, no matter the level of competition or circumstance, until freedom and peace have been restored. #WeStandWithUkraine.”
In light of Russia’s exit from international football, FIFA must still decide how to alter the qualifying bracket. Poland may be given a bye to face the winner of Sweden’s match against the Czech Republic.
It’s also feasible that a team’s performance in the Nations League may earn them a third spot in the second round of qualifiers; Hungary was the third most successful of these nations after Austria and the Czech Republic. Slovakia, who placed third in qualifying Group H behind Croatia and Russia, could also be considered.
The governing body of European football, has stripped Saint Petersburg of the right to host the Champions League final in May.
UEFA has also ended a $45 million a year sponsorship deal with Russia’s state-owned energy firm Gazprom.
Meanwhile, UEFA is attempting to have the Russian women’s team removed from the European Championships in England this summer.
Spartak Moscow, the only remaining Russian club in European club competition, will also be eliminated from the Europa League, giving RB Leipzig a bye to the quarterfinals.
Source: CBS Sports