Russian football chiefs respond to UEFA & FIFA suspension

The Russian Football Union (RFU) has reacted after UEFA and FIFA banned all Russian teams from their competitions

The Russian Football Union (RFU) says it reserves the right challenge the decision by governing bodies FIFA and UEFA to suspend Russian teams from all their competitions due to the ongoing military campaign in Ukraine.

In a joint statement on Monday, FIFA and UEFA announced that no Russian teams at club or international level would take part in their tournaments “until further notice.”

The RFU has decried the step as “discriminatory” and says it will harm “millions of Russian and foreign fans.”

“The Russian Football Union categorically disagrees with the decision of FIFA and UEFA to suspend all Russian teams from participating in international matches for an indefinite period,” read a statement on the RFU website.

“We believe that this decision is contrary to the norms and principles of international competition, as well as the spirit of sports.

“It has an obvious discriminatory character and harms a huge number of sportspeople, coaches, employees of clubs and national teams, and most importantly, millions of Russian and foreign fans, whose interests international sports organizations must protect first of all.

“Such actions divide the international sports community, which has always adhered to the principles of equality, mutual respect and independence from politics.

“We reserve the right to challenge the decision of FIFA and UEFA in accordance with international sports law,” it added.

Among other things, the decision from UEFA and FIFA means that the Russian men’s national team is set to miss out on the chance to qualify for this year’s World Cup in Qatar.

Russia had been due to play Poland in a semifinal playoff in Moscow on March 24, before meeting either Sweden or the Czech Republic in the Russian capital later that month.

However, all three nations had refused to play Russia in light of the military operation launched by Moscow in Ukraine.

FIFA had initially said Russia must play home matches at a neutral venue without fans, and without the country’s flag or anthem.

Monday’s decision has gone much further by banning Russian teams altogether, and follows recommendations earlier in the day from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for Russian and Belarusian athletes not to be allowed to compete in international competitions across all sports.   

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