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Russian Teams Suspended from International Competitions

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IFA and UEFA jointly suspended Russian teams from international football competitions on Monday as world sport closed its doors to Russia following Ukraine’s invasion of Ukraine. After Russia invaded Ukraine, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended that all Russian and Belarusian athletes be banned from international competitions.

Russia will be excluded from the World Cup, and other international sporting events after FIFA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) imposed emergency sanctions in response to the invasion of Ukraine. This means Russia will be excluded by FIFA from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after the world governing body and the European federation, UEFA, issued a joint statement confirming that all Russian teams and clubs have been suspended until further notice.

At the same time, European football’s governing body also entered into a partnership with the Russian energy giant Gazprom. FIFA not only banned Russia but also slapped President Putin. The Russian Football Federation, Russia’s governing body, said in a statement that “this decision is contrary to the rules and principles of international competition, as well as the spirit of sport. FIFA has been criticised for saying that Russia should complete the next matches in neutral territory, with the name “Russian Football Federation”, without a flag and an anthem.

Sports organisations across Europe have already turned against Moscow on Monday, refusing to accept or play against teams from that country. The cancellation took place officially when UEFA announced the suspension of FIFA Russia in a UEFA statement dated 28 February. On Friday, Rugby Europe announced that all Russian soil matches would be suspended. World Rugby also took a similar step by breaking Belarus and Russia from international rugby activities “until further notice”.

The suspension will likely take Russia out of the World Cup qualifying playoffs in the coming months and end Russia’s hopes of a World Cup spot. The suspension means that the Russian men’s team will not play the World Cup play-offs next month, and the women’s team is suspended from Euro 2022 competition this summer. The Russian women’s team will not participate if the ban remains in place when the Euro 2022 summer tournament kicks off on July 6.

Russian clubs have also been banned from European competition by UEFA, meaning that Spartak Moscow will not play in the Europa League against RB Leipzig. The German team will automatically advance to the quarter-finals. UEFA was also expelled from the second division of the Europa League, the last remaining Russian in European competition this season, Spartak Moscow.

By announcing the ban, FIFA and UEFA have joined a growing list of national governments and international organisations that have punished Russia for waging a war that has already claimed hundreds of lives.

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