After numerous talks at the highest level over the weekend, it now seems clear: Russian teams will not be playing any more games under the UEFA umbrella until further notice. It’s a position now held by numerous associations in Europe, including the powerful English FA. The German Football Association (DFB) also supports this common position.
“I can’t imagine that there will be games against Russia. That can’t and mustn’t happen. It’s about war. You have to take a clear stance on that,” said DFB presidential candidate Peter Peters to “SID”. As a member of the Council of the world governing body FIFA, he also advises his colleagues: The decision of the European associations “is correct, FIFA should follow suit”.
The German Ice Hockey Federation (DEB) has already reacted. He supports the demands of the Baltic federations for a suspension of Russia by the world federation IIHF. “As long as this unbelievable war doesn’t stop,” DEB President Franz Reindl told SID, “sport can’t just go on either.” The IIHF Council wants to discuss the consequences on Monday evening – also for Belarus.
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But the most important thing is: What are UEFA and FIFA doing? At European level, an exclusion of all Russian teams would mean: RB Leipzig does not have to play against Spartak Moscow in the round of 16 of the Europa League – and Russia will be excluded from the Women’s European Championship in England in July: Group opponents there would be the Netherlands and the boycott advocates Sweden and Switzerland.
How does FIFA decide about the World Cup?
FIFA is now under a lot of pressure. In addition to the Swedes, Poland and the Czech Republic also no longer want to take part in the game for a time, their associations refuse to play in the play-offs of the World Cup qualifier against Russia. Poland’s association president Cezary Kulesza called this “the only right decision”. Robert Lewandowski’s team would meet Russia on March 24th.
Because in the event of a Russian success, possible opponents Sweden or the Czech Republic also refuse a game, FIFA is now faced with a choice: will the Russians receive a red card – or a free ticket to the World Cup in Qatar? So far, Russia has only received a yellow card from FIFA, meaning: games on neutral ground, without the name of Russia, without a national flag and an anthem.
So a few sanctions, but no exclusion despite the most serious offenses – the International Olympic Committee (IOC) also remains true to its line. She is also represented by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), which is holding its Paralympics in Beijing from next Friday (until March 13). Means: The Russian team starts – even if not under “Russia”.
World orienteering association IOF takes the first step and suspends Russia
In addition to Russia, the focus is increasingly on its wartime partner Belarus, not least in the letter that the Global Athletes association sent to the IOC and IPC on behalf of Ukrainian athletes and the Athletes Germany association. Both associations are called upon to immediately suspend the National Olympic and Paralympic Committees.
“If the IOC and IPC refuse to act, you encourage Russia and Belarus to violate international laws and their own charter,” the statement said. “Your inaction will send a message to every athlete and to the world that you put the interests of Russia and Belarus ahead of the athletes.”
The first thing that shows how it’s done is a small association that is recognized by the IOC: The world orienteering association IOF announced on Monday that it had suspended Russia. So red card.
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