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26 Nov, 2022 10:44

Football boss explains why Russia wants to stick with UEFA

Speculation in the Russian media has suggested that the country could move to the Asian Football Confederation
Football boss explains why Russia wants to stick with UEFA

Russia is aiming to remain part of UEFA and sees more benefits in staying with the European organization than moving to its Asian counterpart, according to football official Aleksandr Alaev.

Russian teams are currently banned from UEFA competitions at all levels following a decision imposed alongside FIFA at the end of February because of the conflict in Ukraine.

Reports in Russia have suggested that the Russian Football Union (RFU) could seek to move to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), where it would presumably be more welcome and avoid similar sanctions.

But Russian Premier League president Alaev has detailed why his country would be better off with UEFA.

“We are members of UEFA, although we are suspended from competitions,” Alaev told RIA Novosti this week.

“As a fan, I would like us to play in Europe. Unfortunately, politics intervened. Nobody knows how the situation will develop further, whether we will return to Europe.

“From a sporting and financial point of view Asia is less attractive. Perhaps, after some time, the question will be different… But Europe is number one, you have to stay there,” Alaev added. 

The football official said that any potential move for Russian teams to play in Asian competitions would be “a complex bureaucratic issue” which has not been discussed at official levels.

Elsewhere, honorary president of the RFU, Vyacheslav Koloskov, also dismissed rumors of a move to Asia, saying “there can be no talk of this now.”

UEFA organizes the most prominent club football competition in the world – the Champions League – as well as major national team tournaments such as the European Championships.

Russian clubs have been banned from UEFA competitions for at least the 2022/23 season, while the men’s national team was removed from the qualification draw for Euro 2024, meaning it is set to miss the event in Germany.