Russia has been kicked out of the World Cup after being suspended “until further notice” from all international competitions, FIFA and UEFA announced in a joint statement on Monday, while European football’s governing body also ended its partnership with Russian energy giant Gazprom.
The men’s team was set to participate in the qualifying play-offs for the World Cup in Qatar later this year in March, while the women’s team had qualified for the European Championship in England, to be held in July.
The announcement also affects Russian clubs involved in European competitions.
“FIFA and UEFA have jointly decided today that all Russian teams, be they national representative teams or club teams, will be suspended from participating in both FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice,” said the joint statement by the governing bodies of the United Nations. world and European football. †
The Russian men’s team was set to play in the semi-finals of the World Cup qualifier against Poland on March 24 and could face Sweden or the Czech Republic on March 29 for a place in the final in Qatar later this year.
But their three potential opponents insisted on boycotting the matches.
FIFA announced on Sunday that Russian teams can continue to play under the name of the Russian Football Association, play home games at a neutral venue and behind closed doors, and with a ban on the Russian flag and the national anthem.
But those measures were dismissed as “totally unacceptable” by Polish FA president Cezary Kulesza, who added that Poland would not play their World Cup play-off with Russia “regardless of the team’s name.”
FIFA changed its approach on Monday and kicked Russia out of the sport’s showpiece.
“Football is here fully united and in full solidarity with all affected people in Ukraine,” the statement added.
“Both presidents (Gianni Infantino and Aleksander Ceferin) hope that the situation in Ukraine will improve significantly and quickly so that football can once again be a vector for unity and peace among the people.”
The decisions come after a widespread outcry, with the global players’ union FIFPro issuing a statement Monday saying it “completely disagrees” with the initial measures taken by FIFA.
FIFPro criticized FIFA for not immediately imposing tougher sanctions, saying Russian teams’ entry into international competitions was now “not a possibility”.
Since other countries also said they would not play against Russia, FIFA and UEFA had little choice.
– UEFA ends Gazprom deal –
FIFA had to act quickly for the upcoming World Cup play-offs and with the draw for the tournament to be held on April 1 in Doha.
Russia would play in their group against the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland in July at the European Championship for women in England.
Meanwhile, Spartak Moscow was scheduled to play against Germany’s RB Leipzig in the last 16 of the Europa League.
They were the only remaining Russian team in European competition this season.
UEFA said it had ended its partnership with Gazprom, one of its main sponsors, “with immediate effect”.
Gazprom has been a title sponsor of UEFA since 2012, and is said to have paid around 40 million euros ($45 million) a year in a deal that would run until 2024.
The president of the Russian Football Federation Alexander Dyukov, boss of Gazprom Neft, the petrol arm of Gazprom, is a member of UEFA’s executive committee.
German club Schalke 04 also announced on Monday that it had prematurely terminated its shirt sponsorship agreement with Gazprom.
UEFA last week stripped the Russian city of St. Petersburg from this season’s Champions League final and moved the game to Paris on May 28.