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Russia has been suspended from all top soccer competitions staged by FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, and European soccer governing body UEFA “until further notice.”
The sanctions, unveiled on Monday, follow Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and an earlier and controversial decision to impose restrictions on the Russian team in marquee soccer competitions ahead of the World Cup.
“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 and UEFA said in a statement.
FIFA’s earlier decision to stop short of an outright ban and instead order that the Russian team compete outside of the country in neutral and empty stadiums and without the Russian name, flag or anthem drew an immediate backlash.
“Football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine. Both [FIFA and UEFA] 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 Bureau of the FIFA Council and the executive committee of UEFA said in their statement.
Russia was set to play Poland next month as part of a four-team playoff group for one of Europe’s final places in the World Cup in Qatar later this year. If Russia were to have won against Poland, it would have met either Sweden or the Czech Republic in the final playoff match.
All three countries refused to play Russia under any circumstances in protest against the country’s invasion of Ukraine begun last week. European soccer body UEFA last week stripped Russia of the rights to host the Champions League final, moving the match from St. Petersburg to Paris.
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