UEFA has partially withdrawn the complete ban on Russian teams taking part in the organization’s tournaments in place since the country invaded Ukraine in 2022.
UEFA partially lifts ban on Russian teams
The governing body was quick to issue a complete ban on both national and club sides in the phase of Russian aggression before 18 months. The organization’s President, Aleksander Ceferin, said in April that it would be difficult to overturn the ruling as long as Russia is linked with the conflict.
FIFA acted in a similar manner, and Russia was banned from being a part of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar despite being off to the playoffs prior to the invasion.
The 2022 Champions League final venue also had a shift from the Krestovsky Stadium in St Petersburg to Stade de France in Paris. However, the reports suggest that the ban is ready to be eased somewhat with the reintroduction of youth teams under 17 into the international competition.
Any ties involving the youth sides will be played on a neutral ground, and the teams will not be allowed to either wear the Russian national team strip or play the national anthem before kickoff.
Alongside the ban, UEFA declared that the organization’s executive committee ‘reiterated its condemnation of Russia’s illegal war and confirmed that the suspension of all other teams of Russia will remain in force until the end of the conflict in Ukraine.’
The statement further added that the committee was ‘aware that children should not be punished for actions whose responsibility lies exclusively with adults. For these reasons, the UEFA Executive Committee has decided that the Russian team of minor players will be readmitted to its competitions in the course of this season.’
It further read, ‘The Executive Committee has asked the UEFA Administration to propose a technical solution that would enable the reinstatement of the Russian U17 teams even when draws have already been held.’
Other sports organizations like the IOC and the All England Club have meted out restrictions to athletes from both Belarus and Russia due to the former’s support for Putin’s government.
Back in April, Russia discussed the chances of lifting the ban after turning on a proposed switch to the Asian Football Confederation.
The RFU Secretary in this regard
RFU Secretary General Maxim Mitrofanov said,
“We are negotiating with UEFA about the restoration, and removal of bans, negotiations are difficult, these are long conversations that go on all the time.”