Russia has been excluded from the Football World Cup by its organizer, Fifa, which announced on Monday February 28 the suspension of national teams and Russian clubs ” until further notice “ in response to the invasion of Ukraine, in a joint statement with the European Confederation (UEFA).
The Russians, hosts of the last World Cup in 2018, are therefore disqualified from the play-offs of the next edition, which they were to play at the end of March with a ticket at stake for the tournament in Qatar (November 21-December 18), and their female selection will not be able to play the Euro in England in July. Spartak Moscow, the last Russian club engaged in the European Cup this season, is also excluded from the Europa League before facing RB Leipzig in the round of 16.
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“Football here is totally united and in full support of everyone affected in Ukraine. The two presidents [Gianni Infantino pour la Fifa et Aleksander Ceferin pour l’UEFA, NDLR] hope that the situation in Ukraine will improve significantly and quickly so that football can once again be a vehicle for unity and peace between peoples”explain jointly Fifa and UEFA in a press release.
Russia was due to play a play-off on March 24 against Poland, but the Poles have repeatedly said they will refuse to play it, even on neutral ground.
End of partnership with Gazprom
Fifa and UEFA thus partially follow the position of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which on Monday recommended to international federations to “do not invite” Russian and Belarusian athletes and teams in international sports competitions.
Deprived of the Qatari World Cup, Russia finds itself isolated by the sports world, pending the decisions of the International Paralympic Committee, which planned to speak on Wednesday two days before the start of the Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing.
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Several national federations, including that of the French world champions, had said they were in favor of an outright exclusion of Russia from the World Cup, a major sporting event of the year 2022.
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UEFA also broke up on Monday ” with immediate effect “ its partnership with the Russian giant Gazprom, one of its main sponsors since 2012.
The contract was estimated at 40 million euros per year according to specialized media, and covered the Champions League, international competitions organized by UEFA as well as Euro 2024 which will be organized in Germany.