By Mukwuzi Joseph
After several countries refused to play against Russia in World Cup qualifying matches, Russian teams have now been banned from “participation in both FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice.”
FIFA and UEFA announced the news in a press release on Monday amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“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,” said the international soccer governing bodies. “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.”
Continued the statement, “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.”
Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues after the country invaded on Feb. 24, with forces moving from the north, south, and east. Details of the attack and the fighting change by the day, but this is the first major land conflict in Europe in decades — and hundreds have already been reported dead or wounded, including children.
Thousands more people have fled or tried to escape Ukraine amid warnings of a possible “refugee crisis.”
Ahead of Monday’s decision, FIFA’s initial penalties against Russia for the World Cup — neutral matches and a new name for the Russian team — were met with backlash. In response, Poland, the Czech Republic, Sweden and England said they would refuse to play the Russian team in matches.
The 2022 World Cup is scheduled to begin in November.
The Ukraine invasion, ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, has drawn widespread condemnation around the world and increasingly severe economic sanctions against Russia.