Ukraine demands answers after reports of UEFA-Russia cooperation
The Ukrainian Association of Football (UAF) has called on UEFA to “clarify” recent reports that the European football governing body was involved in plans to host a youth tournament in Russia.
Citing sources, Russian media outlet RBK reported on Thursday that the Russian Football Union (RFU) and UEFA had agreed to hold an international youth development event in the city of Volgograd in May of next year.
Sharing a letter addressed to UEFA general secretary Theodore Theodoridis, the UAF requested an explanation concerning the reports – in the hopes that they were “fake.”
“We were particularly concerned by the recent news… that Russia will host a football tournament among youth national teams under the auspices of UEFA,” read the message shared on the UAF website.
“If the statement from the RFU is true, this tournament will be the first international event held in the aggressor country since the beginning of the war in Ukraine,” it further claimed.
The UAF added that it would consider the tournament to be “a violation of the sanctions justly imposed by FIFA and UEFA on Russia.”
UEFA and global governing body FIFA initially announced a ban on all Russian teams from their competitions at the end of February, following a recommendation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Russian football officials have thus far failed in their efforts to get the sanctions overturned, losing an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland.
The RFU has said it could take up the case with the Swiss Federal Supreme Court as a next step.
The sanctions have led the RFU to formally discuss the possibility of leaving UEFA to join its Asian equivalent, the AFC, with a decision potentially being made before the end of the year.
According to RBK, any discussions between UEFA and Russian officials regarding the current sanctions remain “unofficial,” although it added that the youth team event purportedly planned for next year indicated “positive momentum.”