FIFA suspends Russia from international soccer competitions, including World Cup qualifiers

FIFA suspends Russia from international soccer competitions, including World Cup qualifiers
Russian President Vladimir Putin touches the World Cup trophy following the championship match between France and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in Moscow. (Thanassis Stavrakis/Associated Press)

Russian teams were suspended Monday from all international soccer, including qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup, as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

World soccer body FIFA and European authority UEFA banned Russian national and clubs teams from their competitions “until further notice.”

Russia’s men’s national team had been scheduled to play in World Cup qualifying playoffs in just three weeks’ time.

“FIFA and UEFA have today decided together that all Russian teams, whether national representative teams or club teams, shall be suspended from participation in both FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice,” UEFA said in a statement.

“These decisions were adopted today by the Bureau of the FIFA Council and the Executive Committee of UEFA, respectively the highest decision-making bodies of both institutions on such urgent matters,” they added.

The move by FIFA and UEFA came after the International Olympic Committee pushed dozens of sports governing bodies to exclude Russian athletes and officials from international events.

The IOC said this action was needed to “protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants.”

Russia was scheduled to host Poland in a World Cup qualifying playoff on March 24. If the suspension lasts through that date, they would be unable to advance to the World Cup in Qatar in November.

In a separate statement, Canada Soccer announced its teams would not compete against Russian teams at any level until Ukraine’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity are restored.

“Of course, Canada has to support the Ukrainian population … We are 100 per cent in support of Ukraine,” Canada Soccer president Nick Bontis said in an interview with Canadian Press. “We will not — and let me repeat — we will not compete at any level against Russia until all the integrity is restored in this conflict.”

Russia hosted the previous World Cup, held in 2018.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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