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28 Nov, 2022 08:35

Russia to discuss potential Asian football move – official

The country is currently a member of European governing body UEFA
Russia to discuss potential Asian football move – official

Russian football officials will discuss a potential switch from UEFA to its Asian counterpart at the next executive committee meeting of the Russian Football Union (RFU), it has been confirmed.

RFU president Aleksandr Dyukov informed the Russian media of the development on Sunday.

“We will consider this issue at the executive committee. I’m not sure that a decision will be made, but the situation requires discussion,” Dyukov said, as quoted by TASS.

“UEFA considers us a member of the European family, we implement all programs, they participate in project financing, in our case it would be ugly to negotiate over their heads.

“I said that it is important for us to hold official matches, we had two years of the coronavirus, and now a suspension,” Dyukov added.

Russian teams were banned from all UEFA and FIFA competitions at the end of February, following the launch of Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine.

Russia was also stripped of the 2022 UEFA Champions League final, which was due to be held in St. Petersburg in May but was moved to Paris, where it ended up being marred by police clashes with fans.

UEFA has extended its ban on Russia for at least the 2022/23 season, while the Russian men’s national team has been removed from the qualification stage of the 2024 European Championships in Germany.

The team was also prevented from attempting to qualify for the ongoing 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The issue of a potential move by the RFU to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has been increasingly mooted in the Russian media in recent months.

The supposed benefits of the switch would be that Russia is less likely to face alienation and suspension, given the Western-led sporting sanctions which have been imposed because of the conflict in Ukraine.

As recently as last week, Russian Premier League president Aleksandr Alaev said that remaining with UEFA made more sense “from a sporting and financial point of view.”

RFU president Dyukov, who is a member of the UEFA Executive Committee, repeated on Sunday that Russia intends to launch further legal bids against UEFA and FIFA in an effort to overturn the bans, having failed with initial appeals at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland.