Although they were due to face Poland in a World Cup play-off, Fifa and UEFA instead announced that Russia would be suspended from all competitions until further notice.
By Jessica Campbell | March 1, 2022
The world watched in horror as Russia invaded Ukraine. Within days, the destruction was widespread and on an unimaginable scale. Russian forces have since gathered outside Kiev, though they have been significantly slowed by fierce resistance from Ukrainian soldiers and civilian volunteers, all united in their desire to protect not just Ukraine, but freedom. what is democracy. But as calls for urgent aid to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia have continued to ring out, world leaders are opting instead to defuse the violence that seems so unfazed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Sanctions against Russia have taken the form of codes for finance and economics, industry and transport, and now even sports.
Fifa and UEFA have united in their stance of support for Ukraine, suspending Russian teams from international football competition as the global game that is sport now closes its doors to Russia. It comes after the International Olympic Committee also acted in favor of Ukraine after days of mounting protest. Under the new sanctions, Russia will no longer be able to face Poland in the semi-finals of the World Cup play-offs next month, while their women’s side will also be excluded from this summer’s European Championship in England and the Europa League.
In a joint statement, the sports organizations explained: “Fifa and UEFA have decided today together that all Russian teams, whether representative national teams or club teams, will be suspended. participation in Fifa and UEFA competitions until further notice. These decisions were adopted today by the Bureau of the Fifa Council and the UEFA Executive Committee, respectively the highest decision-making bodies of both institutions on such urgent matters. Football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all those affected in Ukraine. Both presidents hope that the situation in Ukraine will improve significantly and quickly so that football can once again be a vehicle for unity and peace among peoples.
UEFA has a long-standing, lucrative sponsorship deal with Gazprom, the Russian gas company that sponsors the Champions League, and has done so for a decade. Now UEFA will sever those ties and cancel the deal. The Champions League final was also to be played at the Gazprom Arena in Saint Petersburg, but this has been moved to Paris. “UEFA has decided today to end its partnership with Gazprom in all competitions,” a statement read. “The decision takes effect immediately and covers all existing agreements, including the UEFA Champions League, UEFA national team competitions and UEFA Euro 2024.”
The impact of these sanctions on individual players and their involvement with non-Russian teams remains to be seen. Just recently, tennis star Daniil Medvedev took center stage as Novak Djokovic’s No.1 tennis player, making a statement over the weekend calling for peace. But Ukrainian Tennis Federation board member Seva Kevlych told Reuters that Medvedev should not be allowed to participate in Grand Slam matches. It echoes sentiments of broader action against Russia, after their involvement and dominance in the sport has long been seen as fueling their own ideology and, as Ukraine’s sports ministry suggests, “a tool to popularize ideas of intimidation, murder and destruction”.
Jess is a storyteller committed to sharing the human stories that are at the heart of sport.