Russia is banned from all international football
Among others, Sweden refused to play against the Russian national football team. Now the international federations have changed.
Russia is suspended from football for the time being.
– There was no return for Fifa, says Karl-Erik Nilsson who is vice chairman of Uefa and Swedish federal chairman.
Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic were the first countries to refuse to play against Russia after the invasion of Ukraine.
Sweden could have faced Russia at the end of March in a playoff final to the men’s WC, if Sweden had won against the Czech Republic and Russia against Poland.
Blue and yellow are also in the same group as Russia in this summer’s European Championships for women.
Now Russia will not be allowed to participate in the World Cup playoffs, and thus can not reach the World Cup.
As for the European Championships in July , where, among others, the host country England announced that they do not intend to play against Russia, says Karl-Erik Nilsson:
– The oath is the best, because the negative development in Ukraine has been very fast, and the hope is that it will be a positive development. The decision applies until further notice, but there are several federations that have already signaled that they see it as hopeless to face Russia in the European Championships this summer.
On Sunday, the International Football Association Fifa decided not to shut down Russia, and received much criticism for it. A number of European countries joined on Monday in refusing to face Russia.
The International Olympic Committee on Monday afternoon issued a recommendation that Russian and Belarusian athletes should be suspended from all sports. After that, the European Union Uefa together with Fifa announced that they had taken a joint decision.
In a statement , the unions said that “football is in complete agreement here”, and in total solidarity with “everyone affected in Ukraine”.
The presidents of both Fifa and Uefa “hope that the situation in Ukraine will be significantly improved so that football can once again become a vector for unity and peace among the people”.
– Sport means a lot to the Russian state apparatus and if this can in any way be a piece of the puzzle in stopping the misery in Ukraine, it is well legal, says Karl-Erik Nilsson.
– It was a necessary decision, but of course a sad decision to have to be part of.
The Swedish federation top believes that it had a great impact that the three countries in Russia’s World Cup playoff group acted first.
– Then we received great support from several heavyweight leagues in Football Europe yesterday, after Fifa’s first decision which was a big disappointment. It is clear that given the sharp reaction from fans and politicians and football combined, there was no turning back for Fifa.
Uefa is also concluding its sponsorship agreement with the Russian natural gas company Gazprom.
– It is also a necessary consequence of this, it is still a state-owned company in a Russia that is currently in active war against another member of Uefa, says Karl-Erik Nilsson.
The suspension applies to both national teams and club teams, and thus also means that Spartak Moscow, the only Russian club team that remained in UEFA’s international tournaments, will not be allowed to play their round of 16 in the Europa League against Leipzig.
Russian national team head coach Valery Karpin hopes that the suspension will not be long-lasting.
– I hope, of course, that the sanctions will be lifted from us soon and that Russian football will once again become part of the international arena. It’s sad for the guys who were really looking forward to playing in the WC 2022, he says according to Interfax.