The Star (Jamaica)
UEFA bans more Russian teams
Russian football teams were kicked out of the Women’s European Championship, the next men’s Champions League, and qualifying for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup by UEFA yesterday.
The latest round of sporting sanctions during Russia’s war on Ukraine follow FIFA and UEFA suspending Russian national and club teams in February from playing in international competitions, including the men’s World Cup play-offs.
Those previous decisions — made as countries across Europe refused to play games against Russia — are under appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport by the Russian Football Union, and the latest expulsions are also likely to be challenged.
UEFA said Portugal will take Russia’s place in the Women’s Euro 2022 being hosted by England in July. Russia qualified by beating Portugal in the play-offs round.
Russian Premier League winner Zenit St Petersburg’s place in the next Champions League group stage will go instead to the champion of Scotland, according to UEFA’s updated list of allocated entries. Russia also will not have entries in next season’s Europa League and Europa Conference League.
UEFA said its executive committee took the latest decisions to “ensure their smooth staging in a safe and secure environment for all those concerned”.
Russia’s bids to host the men’s Euros in 2028 or 2032 – both launched since the war started – were also terminated, with UEFA ruling them ineligible.
Russia will also not play in its second-tier group of the men’s Nations League, and will be automatically relegated, UEFA said. Scheduled opponents in June and September were Iceland, Israel and Albania.
Football in Ukraine was suspended when the war started on February
24. Its top clubs, Shakhtar Donetsk and Dynamo Kyiv, are touring Europe playing charity games, and the national team will resume its own delayed World Cup qualifying programme in June.
Ukraine will play at Scotland on June
1. The winner advances to play Wales in Cardiff four days later, with a place at the World Cup in Qatar at stake.