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15 Sep, 2022 07:47

Ukraine wants Russia banned from Euros

Russian club teams are currently banned from all European competition
Ukraine wants Russia banned from Euros

The Ukrainian football authorities have demanded that Russia be excluded from the qualifying draw for the UEFA 2024 European Championship. The qualifying groups for the competition will be determined at a ceremony in Germany on October 9.

Ukrainian Association of Football (UAF) president Andrey Pavelko issued the call to UEFA on his organization’s official website, claiming Russia should be “completely isolated on the international stage, including in football.”     

“We are currently making efforts at the UEFA level, the purpose of which is to prevent Russia from participating in the Euro 2024 selection draw, which is scheduled to take place on October 9 in Frankfurt,” said Pavelko.

Russian teams at all levels were initially banned from FIFA and UEFA competitions at the end of February, following a recommendation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

FIFA’s sanctions are indefinite and deprived the Russian men’s team of the chance to reach the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

UEFA announced in early May that its sanctions would cover the 2022/23 season, but it has not made any formal statement on possible Russian participation in qualifying matches for Euro 2024.

Reports in the Russian media have stated that the issue could be resolved at the UEFA Executive Committee meeting scheduled for Croatia on September 20.

That could decide whether Russia is given the right to participate in Euro 2024 qualifying matches, which begin in March of next year before the tournament itself kicks off in Germany in June 2024.  

In the same statement, UAF president Pavelko repeated calls for UEFA and FIFA to intervene to stop a planned football friendly match between Russia and Bosnia and Herzegovina which is scheduled for St. Petersburg in November.

“We are doing everything possible to prevent the match from taking place,” said Pavelko.

The official added that the UAF was also making attempts to prevent the Russian and Serbian women’s youth teams from playing matches planned for October.

Russian football officials have consistently criticized the bans on the nation’s teams as discriminatory and contradictory to the principle of sport being separate from politics.

It has also been pointed out that other countries whose leaderships have launched foreign military campaigns – including the US and its NATO allies – have not faced similar punishments down the years.

The Russian Football Union (RFU) lost its appeal against the UEFA and FIFA bans at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland, but indicated it could still take the case to the higher authority of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court. 

Russia was among the hosts of the last UEFA European Championship, which was held in the summer of 2021 following a one-year delay due to the pandemic. 

St. Petersburg welcomed seven matches of the pan-continental tournament, including the quarterfinal between Spain and Switzerland.