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31 Mar, 2022 12:06

Russia not looking for Asian football move – official

Russian football bosses are not considering a move to confederations outside Europe, according to one official
Russia not looking for Asian football move – official

Russia continues to see itself as part of the European football community and is not actively pursuing a switch to Asia, according to Russian Football Union (RFU) official Maxim Mitrofanov.

Reports in the Russian media in recent days have suggested that the country could seek to turn its back on UEFA after the European football governing body suspended Russian national teams and clubs from its competitions – a step it took alongside global football authority FIFA.

Some Russian sports lawyers have asserted that Russia could switch to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) even without the blessing of FIFA, as part of Russia is located in the continent.

But speaking at the ‘We Are Together. Sport’ forum in Moscow on Thursday, RFU deputy secretary general Mitrofanov dismissed that idea as “fantasy.”

“The press raises the topic that Russia could move to an Asian or even an African confederation. But for now, it’s just make-believe,” Mitrofanov said, according to Match TV.  

“We see ourselves in the FIFA family, in UEFA. And we will see how the situation develops.

“We cannot talk about creating alternative international competitions. 

“According to our rules, this requires the consent of the other side, and other teams are also included in FIFA – they will be threatened with exclusion from this organization if they go for an alternative. 

“No one will agree to this,” Mitrofanov added.

Russian officials attended the 72nd FIFA Congress in 2022 World Cup host country Qatar on Thursday, where it had been feared a vote could be held on the potential suspension or expulsion of the RFU from the organization.

In the end, the only votes on the suspension of membership involved Pakistan, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

The suspension of Russian teams by FIFA did force the Russian men’s national team to miss their planned World Cup qualifying playoff semifinal against Poland last week.

Instead, the Poles were handed a bye to the playoff final, where they defeated Sweden on Tuesday to book their spot in Qatar.

The RFU has appealed its UEFA and FIFA suspensions with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland, but thus far without success. A final verdict is expected in May, according to Mitrofanov.