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FIFA, UEFA suspend Russia from international football

FIFA, UEFA suspend Russia from international football

Posted  111 Views updated 9 months ago

Russian teams have been suspended from international football after the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

The decision came Monday from FIFA and UEFA, saying Russia’s national teams and clubs were suspended “until further notice.”

“Football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine,” FIFA and UEFA said. “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.”

UEFA also ended its sponsorship with Russian energy giant Gazprom.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had earlier urged sports bodies to exclude Russian athletes and officials from international events, including football's World Cup.

The IOC said it was needed to “protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants.”

The decision opened the way for FIFA, the governing body of football, to exclude Russia from the World Cup ahead of a qualifying playoff on March 24. Poland already has refused to play the scheduled game against Russia.

It was unclear how the IOC’s request will affect Russian hockey players in the NHL and tennis players, including top-ranked Daniil Medvedev, in Grand Slam, ATP and WTA tournaments outside the authority of the International Tennis Federation.

FIFA was in talks with European football body UEFA on the details of suspending Russia’s national and club teams, people with knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press.

With a direct impact on Russia playing World Cup qualifiers next month, FIFA already said Sunday it was talking to the IOC about excluding the country from competitions “should the situation not be improving rapidly.”

The IOC also went directly after President Vladimir Putin, who turned the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics into a personal project. Putin’s golden Olympic Order, which was awarded in 2001, has been withdrawn, the IOC said in a statement.

The Olympic body’s call also applied to athletes and official from Belarus, which has abetted Russia’s invasion by allowing its territory to be used to station troops and launch military attacks.

The IOC said it acted “with a heavy heart,” but noted that the impact of war on Ukrainian sports and athletes who cannot now take part in competitions outweighed the potential damage done to athletes from Russia and Belarus.

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