Russia are KICKED OUT of the World Cup and banned from ALL domestic and international football competitions by FIFA and UEFA – while British and German Olympic bodies call for exclusion from all sport
- UEFA and FIFA have removed Russia from all fixtures following events in Ukraine
- The British Olympic Association has also called for Russia and Belarus exclusion
- UEFA bosses also confirmed the end of its partnership with Russian Gazprom
- The IOC earlier called for all sporting competitions to remove Russian stars
Russia have been suspended from all UEFA and FIFA competitions, including the World Cup play-offs, the governing bodies have announced, following the invasion on Ukraine last week.
Both have removed Russia from all their fixtures until ‘football can again be a vector for unity and peace amongst people’ in a joint statement confirming the move, set to further isolate the country’s sporting situation.
It added that football is ‘fully united here and in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine’.
The statement read: ‘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.
FIFA have today thrown Russia out of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar
FIFA (pictured, president Gianni Infantino left) have suspended Russia until further notice after Russian president Vladimir Putin (centre) ordered an invasion of Ukraine last week
An explosion lights up the night sky over Kiev in the early hours of Thursday, as Russia launched an all-out attack on Ukraine from north, south and east with bombs, cruise missiles and rockets raining from the skies
Firefighter inspects the damage at a building following a rocket attack on the city of Kyiv
‘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.’
The British Olympic Association (BOA) has also called to ‘demand the exclusion of Russia and Belarus from international sport’.
Its statement said: ‘The British Olympic Association, together with the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Germany, demands the immediate exclusion of Russia and Belarus from the international sports family until further notice.
‘We call on the international sports federations to ban athletes representing Russia and Belarus from competitions for the time being and to suspend Russian and Belarusian officials from their positions.
‘We stand united with the people, athletes and the Olympic family of Ukraine, following this unacceptable and unwarranted declaration of war against them.’
UEFA’s European bosses also confirmed the end of its partnership with Russian energy company Gazprom.
The sponsorship deal has been in place since 2012 and has been reported to be worth around 40 million euros per season.
‘UEFA has today decided to end its partnership with Gazprom across all competitions,’ the statement read.
‘The decision is effective immediately and covers all existing agreements including the UEFA Champions League, UEFA national team competitions and UEFA EURO 2024.’
Russian side Spartak Moscow have also been kicked out of the Europa League due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Their opponents RB Leipzig will get an automatic bye to the quarter-finals, claim German media outlet Bild.
The Russian men’s national team were scheduled to play Poland in a play-off for Qatar 2022 on March 24 – a match Poland said they would boycott – but the Poles have now been given a bye to the next round of qualifying.
Russia’s President Putin (L) awards an Order of Friendship to FIFA President Infantino during a ceremony in 2019
It also means Russia will not compete at the women’s Euro 2022 in England this summer, with FIFA and UEFA completing talks today about suspending Russia from competitions until further notice.
Earlier the IOC decision, which included Belarusian athletes too, followed an Executive Board meeting where Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was discussed.
The committee has withdrawn the Olympic order from Vladimir Putin ‘considering the extremely grave violation of the Olympic Truce and other violations of the Olympic Charter by the Russian government in the past’.
FIFA had already been branded an ‘absolute disgrace’ for failing to kick Russia out of the World Cup already, following sanctions on Sunday.
Russia had been allowed to compete under the name, ‘Football Union of Russia’, with no flag or anthem and it must find a neutral country to host its matches – but they will now not face Poland in next month’s World Cup play-off.
Spartak Moscow are expected to be ejected from the Europa Champions League by UEFA
FIFA’s initial response to the invasion of Ukraine appeared to be an attempt to act in a way that was broadly consistent with the inclusion of the Russian Olympic Committee at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
This allowed Russian athletes to compete, despite Russia receiving a two-year ban from the World Anti-Doping Agency in 2019 for its state-sponsored doping program
However, the IOC’s decision would appear to be a game changer.
UEFA, European football’s governing body, is also expected to take further action against Russia by banning Spartak Moscow from the Europa League.
Having already stripped the country of the Champions League final, which was due to take place in St Petersburg on May 28, and hand it to Paris, UEFA is now prepared to throw Spartak Moscow out of Europe’s secondary competition.
Spartak were due to play German Bundesliga team, RB Leipzig, in the round-of-16 but according to German outlet Bild, the tie is now expected to be cancelled.
FIFA STATEMENT IN FULL
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.
‘We continue to be in close contact with the associations and have complete confidence in UEFA and their decision,’ RB Leipzig chief Oliver Mintzlaff told the German outlet.
‘We assume that the games will be cancelled.’
Europe’s football governing body had already banned Spartak from playing their home leg in Russia.
The moves by the IOC and UEFA ratcheted up pressure on FIFA, which looked increasingly out of step with European football and the sporting world, following Putin’s merciless invasion of Ukraine, which began on Thursday.
Four days of rockets, shells and fighting has seen more than 500,000 refugees, mainly women and children, flee Ukraine for the West, with some children separated or even orphaned since the invasion began. Queues of up to 25 miles are reported at the border with Poland.
It also means Russia will not compete in the Women’s European Championships this summer
The horrific reality of Putin’s war has been exposed in images emerging from Ukraine, which depict the killing of young children, their distraught parents and the desperate efforts of medics to save them.
Today, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a TV address that 16 Ukrainian children have been killed and 45 wounded in the four days since the invasion began.
The English Football Association has already confirmed they will not play any team from Russia, regardless of what they call themselves.
The FA is one of seven associations to announce an outright ban on games with Russia. The others include, Czech Republic, France, Poland, Scotland, Sweden and Wales.
Polish FA president Cezary Kulesza said yesterday that FIFA’s original decision not to outright ban Russia from the World Cup was ‘totally unacceptable’
The FA said they will not play the country’s representative teams at any level or age group for the foreseeable future.
An England Under 17s match with Russia in the European Championship elite round, due to take place on March 26, was cancelled on Sunday night.
Russia were due to meet Poland in the World Cup play-offs next month, with Sweden and the Czech Republic to play the winners for a place in Qatar, but all three countries said over the weekend they are unwilling to play.
Polish FA president Cezary Kulesza said yesterday that FIFA’s original decision not to outright ban Russia from the World Cup was ‘totally unacceptable’.
‘We are not interested in participating in this game of appearances,’ he said in a tweet.
‘Our stance remains intact — the Polish national team will not play with Russia, no matter what the name of the team is.’
Swedish FA president Karl-Erik Nilsson told the Fotbollskanalen website: ‘It is clear that we are not satisfied with this.’
Albania, due to play Russia twice in the Nations League in June, also said they would boycott their fixtures.
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