Germany wants Russia and Belarus banned from Euro 2024 – Spiegel
German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has demanded that Russia and Belarus be banned from the Euro 2024 football tournament, according to Der Spiegel. The magazine reports that the official has written to UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin on the matter.
Germany is set to host the competition for the first time as a united entity, although West Germany staged the 1988 tournament.
Three weeks ahead of the draw for the qualifying groups, which will be held in Frankfurt, the letter reportedly notes how Russia is already banned from international competitions and demands the same treatment for its close ally.
Faeser allegedly argues that Belarus, which has never qualified for a major tournament and played its UEFA Nations League home games in Serbia in June without fans present, should be excluded from all international football matches and tournaments due to its government being "essential supporters of the Russian leadership" in the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine.
Furthermore, the German politician reportedly added that UEFA should also suspend Russian and Belarusian officials from "the influential bodies of international sports federations" because football should "live up to its responsible role and show a united stance against this form of disregard for human rights."
"All those responsible must be deprived of any possibility of sporting participation, influence or other representation," she was cited as adding.
Meanwhile, The Athletic magazine says that UEFA has already received the correspondence and will respond in due course.
Faeser's request from Germany follows a similar move by Ukrainian Football Association (UAF) President Andrey Pavelko, who has requested that Russia be excluded from the qualifying group draw on October 9.
Russia should be "completely isolated on the international stage, including in football" Pavelko wrote on the association's official website, adding that his organization is "currently making efforts at the UEFA level" in that regard.
UEFA and FIFA excluded all Russian teams from international football competitions in February.
This saw Russia's men's team thrown out of contention for the Qatar 2022 World Cup in November, and the women's team removed from the group phase of the Euro 2022 won by hosts England.
In early May, UEFA then announced that its sanctions would be extended to the 2022/23 season, but it hasn't yet made any formal statements on whether Russia can take part in Euro 2024 qualifying matches.
In the same statement on the UAF's website, Pavelko also repeated calls for UEFA and FIFA to step in and stop a planned friendly between Russia and Bosnia and Herzegovina scheduled to take place in St. Petersburg in November.
"We are doing everything possible to prevent the match from taking place," he explained.