The Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) have suspended all Russian clubs and national teams from participating in any tournament organized by both governing bodies indefinitely.
They said that the decision was taken to show solidarity with all those that have been affected by the Russian government’s decision to invade the Ukrainian territory, destroying property and killing fans of the game.
With this decision, Russian men’s team would not play their World Cup play-off matches next month and the women’s team has been banned from this summer’s Euro 2022 competition.
The football bodies’ decision would also amount to Spartak Moscow being kicked out of the Europa League and their last-16 opponents, RB Leipzig, of Germany, advancing to the quarter-finals. Before the ban, UEFA had ended its sponsorship with Russian energy giant, Gazprom.
They announced the decision on Monday after a meeting between the Bureau of the FIFA Council and the Executive Committee of UEFA.
The statement read: “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 and Uefa decided to take action after Russia, supported by Belarus, launched a military invasion of neighbouring Ukraine last Thursday.
The Russian men’s team had been scheduled to face Poland in a World Cup play-off semi-final on 24 March, and Fifa had previously ruled that Russia must complete their upcoming games in neutral territory, under the title Football Union of Russia, and without their flag and anthem.
However, the announcement drew criticism – and Scotland and the Republic of Ireland joined several other nations, including England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, as well as Poland, the Czech Republic, and Sweden, in refusing to play against Russia.
On Monday, Scottish FA president, Rod Petrie, wrote to his Ukrainian counterpart “to send a message of support, friendship and unity”, with those two nations due to meet in their World Cup play-off semi-final on 24 March.
The 2022 Champions League final, originally due to be played in St Petersburg on 28 May, has been moved to Paris while numerous clubs have taken their own steps to disassociate themselves from Russia.
Manchester United has terminated its sponsorship deal with Russia’s national airline Aeroflot while Bundesliga club Schalke has cancelled its partnership with main sponsor Gazprom, having last week removed the Russian energy company’s logo from its shirts.
Also, Tottenham manager, Antonio Conte, said: “The whole world has to be compact and show [it is] solid against the stupidity of the people. I think it’s right to express our disappointment about the stupidity of some decisions. Football and Uefa have to be compact and to show to be strong.”