FIFA and UEFA have banned all Russian clubs and national teams from all competitions “until further notice” following the invasion of Ukraine.
The ban means that Russian clubs will take no further part in European competitions, the men’s national team will not play their World Cup play off matches and the women’s team barred from this summer’s European Championships. UEFA also ended their sponsorship deal with Gazprom with a FIFA and UEFA joint statement saying “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.”
On Twitter Spartak Moscow said “The decision to exclude our team from Europa League is upsetting. We believe that sport, even in the most difficult times, should aim to build bridges, and not burn them. We will focus on domestic competitions and hope for a speedy achievement of peace that everybody needs.”
FIFA previously received criticism when their initial sanction of allowing the Russian teams to continue playing but without their flag or national anthem was met with backlash with other nations such as Poland, England and Czech Republic saying that they would refuse to play regardless of what name the team was given.
This change in FIFA’s direction was signalled by an intervention from the International Olympic Committee (IOC). On Monday 28th February the IOC issued a lengthy resolution calling on all sporting organisations to act.
“In order to protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants,” the resolution read, “the IOC Executive Board recommends that International Sports Federations and sports event organisers not invite or allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in international competitions”.
Gazprom also recently saw their sponsorship deal with Schalke 04 cancelled whilst Manchester United also cut ties with Russian airline Aeroflot. The Champions League final was scheduled to take place in St Petersburg, but this has now been moved to Paris.
“UEFA has today decided to end its partnership with Gazprom across all competitions,” a statement said. “The decision is effective immediately and covers all existing agreements including the UEFA Champions League, UEFA national team competitions and UEFA Euro 2024.”
Many other sports are also taking action with F1 cancelling the Russian Grand Prix and Russian and Belarusian national teams have been banned from international competition in rugby, ice hockey and others.