UEFA ‘backs tough option’ on FIFA future in Russia – report – RT Sport News

UEFA and the South American Football Confederation, CONMEBOL, would support a “difficult choice” when the FIFA Council meets on Wednesday to discuss the expulsion of the Russian Football Union (RFU), according to a report claiming that FIFA President Gianni Infantino is “inclined” to suspend Russia’s membership in a new sanction after the start of the attack on Ukraine.

The board’s official agenda for the meeting, held a day before the 72nd FIFA Congress in Doha, the capital of World Cup host country Qatar, lists the “suspension or expulsion from a member association” among the topics of discussion.

Infantino and the Asian and African Football Confederations would be in favor of suspending Russia’s membership, Match TV said, citing unnamed experts suggesting UEFA and CONMEBOL could back a full expulsion.

Russian and Belarusian teams were suspended from all FIFA and UEFA competitions in February after the launch of the military offensive in Ukraine.

The 2018 World Cup hosts did not host Poland in their scheduled playoff semi-final on March 24, as victory would have sent them to the final against Sweden in Moscow five days later.

A decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport has ruled that the suspension will not be lifted, although Russia coach Valeri Karpin remains hopeful that his team’s bid for qualification can resume when the court decides the legal basis for the suspension.

The RFU would be banned from international matches and transfer supervision under the restrictions warranted by either of the potential outcomes of the board meeting.

Although he said Infantino would not switch to deportation, the outlet added that the president’s stance could be influenced by the criminal investigation he has been facing in Switzerland since July 2020.

Infantino is the subject of a criminal complaint for three undocumented meetings he allegedly had with Switzerland’s former attorney general, Michael Lauber, in 2016 and 2017. Lauber is also under investigation.

UEFA 'backs tough option' on FIFA future in Russia – report – RT Sport News

The FIFA chief is believed to have sought information on investigations into FIFA and former leaders of the organisations, potentially with the aim of influencing the course of these cases.

Match said that a “softer” decision on Russia’s membership could increase Infantino’s risk of receiving harsher measures from the Swiss justice system because the state has a “anti-Russian political program”.

No Russian representative would have been accredited to the Congress. Alexei Sorokin, the former chief executive of the 2018 World Cup organizing committee, and a group of Russian specialists linked to that tournament are said to be in Qatar.

Local dignitary Alexey Sorokin told the outlet on Monday that he saw no reason to temporarily or permanently withdraw Russia’s FIFA membership.

Sorokin said the RFU needed to communicate with international federations and build relationships, adding that he expected UEFA to compensate Russia for moving the Champions League final in May from St Petersburg in Paris.

Karpin on Monday expressed his hope that Russia will soon return to the international football scene.

“The situation changes every day” the former international said of the qualifiers, in which Poland – who were exempted – will face Sweden on Tuesday in the final which could have been against Russia.


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