The English FA have held private conversations with UEFA and FIFA, urging them to ban Russia from the upcoming Men’s World Cup and Women’s Euro, according to Sky Sports News.
The English, Scottish and Welsh FAs publicly confirmed on Monday that they would refuse to play matches against Russia at any level of the game, whether or not they play under a new name.
FIFA announced on Sunday that, for the time being, Russia will play matches under the name “Football Union of Russia”, and will not be able to show its flag or play the Russian national anthem.
This has angered many European football authorities, who believe such measures are insufficient in the face of Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine.
The English FA share this view and have made it clear to UEFA and FIFA that they believe expelling Russia is the only appropriate course of action.
UEFA are believed to be discussing whether to take tougher action against Russia, particularly in view of this summer’s Women’s Euro.
Sky Sports News was informed that FIFA and UEFA are aware that there are several months left before the Euros in July and the World Cup in November, and that the international situation could have changed drastically by then.
According to them, a unilateral ban on Russia from playing international football could be inappropriate if, for example, Russian forces were to withdraw quickly from Ukraine or if Putin were to be overthrown in the coming weeks or months.
European and global governing bodies have also been told they could be sued by Russia if they don’t have a watertight legal case for a ban.
Nevertheless, international pressure is mounting and UEFA and FIFA are under no illusions about the strength of sentiment, particularly in Europe, against any Russian involvement in international football at this time.
England, Scotland and Wales refuse to play against Russia
The English FA previously said they would not face Russia in any form – including under a new name, as suggested by FIFA.
The decision was taken “in solidarity with Ukraine and to unreservedly condemn the atrocities committed by the Russian leadership”, the England FA said in a statement.
This indicates that England will refuse to face Russia in both the World Cup in Qatar and the Women’s Euro this summer, if the teams are drawn against each other.
The Football Association of Wales (FAW) said it “stands in solidarity with Ukraine and feels extreme sadness and shock at recent developments in the country”.
The Scottish Football Association have confirmed that Scotland will not play any games against Russia for the foreseeable future.
Scottish FA chairman Rob Petrie has also offered to help the Ukrainian national team prepare for the World Cup play-offs in Hampden on March 24.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday it was “inconceivable” that normal sporting relations with Vladimir Putin’s Russia could continue after the invasion of Ukraine.
FIFA has also warned Russia that it will be banned from all international football if the war does not end.
Following a meeting of the FIFA Council on Sunday, it was confirmed:
- Russia cannot play any FIFA matches in Russia
- Russia cannot be called Russia and will be called “Russian Football Union”
- No flag or anthem of Russia will be used in matches involving Russian Football Union teams
- Next step is to ban Russia from competitions ‘if the situation does not improve soon’
A statement read: “FIFA will continue its ongoing dialogue with the IOC, UEFA and other sports organizations to determine any additional measures or sanctions, including possible exclusion from competitions, which will be applied in the near future if the situation doesn’t improve quickly.”
Poland asks FIFA to exclude Russia from the World Cup
FIFA also said it “will remain in close contact to jointly seek appropriate and acceptable solutions” after Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic all refused to play their World Cup play-offs with Russia in opposition to the invasion of Ukraine.
Poland are due to play in Russia on March 25, with the winner playing either Sweden or the Czech Republic four days later for a place in the final in Qatar in November.
Following FIFA’s statement, the Polish FA again insisted that they would refuse to play against Russia “regardless of the name of the team made up of Russian footballers and the venue of the match”.
He called on FIFA to exclude Russia from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
A statement from the Polish FA read: “Faced with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has been condemned almost everywhere in the world, this is the only decision we can take.
“A performance in a game against the Russian national team would be a disgraceful act not only for our players but for the entire football community, contrary to solidarity with the Ukrainian nation. As a football association , we refuse to participate in the play-offs in which the Russian national team appears.
“At the same time, we call on the FIFA authorities to react immediately to the brutal violence that we observe daily in the territory of independent Ukraine. If FIFA’s human rights policy is more than mere words on a paper, now is the time to say it in practice by excluding the Russian Football Association from the World Cup qualifiers in Qatar in 2022.”
The Polish FA have also written to all 55 European football associations, urging them to declare that they will not play against Russia.
The Swedish Football Association was also quick to condemn FIFA’s decision.
“Clearly we are not happy with this,” Swedish FA president Karl-Erik Nilsson told Fotbollskanalen.
“Our opinion is no different today and the situation has not changed in Ukraine just because we received the message from FIFA, so we have no other opinion today.
“We also want to talk to Poland and the Czech Republic so that we can give back to FIFA what we think, but we expected a clearer position from FIFA. We would have done that.”
The Swiss federation joins the boycott of Russia | Czech Republic won’t play either
The Swiss federation said Sky Sports News its teams will not play any form of Russian team in international football until further notice.
He says his position is “non-negotiable” and includes the UEFA Women’s Euro group stage game against Russia in England this summer.
A spokesperson said: “The SFA condemns the Russian attack on Ukraine and will not play against Russian national teams until further notice.
“The SFA condemns the Russian attack on Ukraine, which not only flagrantly violates international law, but also universal football values, such as the promotion of friendly relations, as propagated in the FIFA Statutes. Our concern is for those affected in Ukraine, especially the Ukrainian Football Association and all of its members.
“The SFA supports the position of the associations of Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic, which are calling for the exclusion of the Russian men’s national team from the play-offs of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. In solidarity with these associations, the SFA will not play any competitive or friendly matches against Russian national teams until further notice.
“If necessary, this non-negotiable position of the SFA explicitly extends to their national women’s team’s first match at the UEFA Women’s EURO in England on July 9, 2022 against Russia.”
The Czech FA also said Sky Sports News that his position on playing against Russia remains the same, despite FIFA’s announcement – no team from the Czech Republic will play against Russia or the “Football Union of Russia”.
A spokesperson said: “The Executive Committee of the Czech Federation decided unanimously at its extraordinary meeting on Sunday February 27 that the Czech national team will not participate in the play-offs for the qualification for the 2022 World Cup. against Russia.
“The position of the Czech FA and the Czech national football team remains the same even if Russia could play the game on neutral ground, without a flag, without an anthem or under the banner of the Russian Football Union.”