Albanian officials have said their country will not compete against Russia in any form of sport, a notable move given the UEFA Nations League clashes scheduled between the two countries later this year.
“Albania will not participate in any sports match with the Russian Federation until the end of the Ukrainian occupation”, Foreign Minister Olta Xhacka said over the weekend, according to the AP.
Russia and Albania are in the same group for the next edition of the UEFA Nations League tournament. The duo are due to meet in Tirana on June 2, with the return leg on June 13.
The other nations drawn in Group 2 of League B alongside Russia and Albania are Iceland and Israel, who have yet to officially declare their position.
UEFA has already announced that Russian teams at club and international level must play home matches at neutral venues in all competitions organized by the organization.
European football’s governing body also stripped Russia of the 2022 Champions League final, which was scheduled for St Petersburg in May.
Separately, FIFA announced on Sunday that Russian teams would be forced to play under the name of the Russian Football Union (RFU) and that the national flag and anthem would be banned.
Home matches involving Russia must also be played at neutral venues and without fans, FIFA added.
However, the organization has so far resisted calls to withdraw Russian teams from international competition, including crucial 2022 World Cup qualifiers scheduled for March.
Poland have already refused to play their qualifier against Russia, scheduled in Moscow on March 24, and potential rivals Sweden and the Czech Republic have taken a similar stance.
Separately, the English FA said on Sunday that they would no longer play matches against Russian teams in light of the military operation in Ukraine.
Russian officials condemned the measures as “politicize” Soccer.
Russian Football Union reacts to FIFA requests to cancel matches
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