Russian football teams will remain banned from European competitions due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Russia will also not host the UEFA Super Cup later this year, which was due to be played in Kazan.
As The Athletic reported, Russian Football Union (RFU) executives met their UEFA counterparts at the organisation’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland today ahead of tomorrow’s ExCo meeting.
But, contrary to Russian media reports, there has been no working group set up by UEFA to discuss the country’s return to the European fold, nor is it participating in one. Russia’s national teams and clubs have been banned from UEFA and FIFA competitions since the end of last February due to the conflict.
An official statement from RFU read: “RFU and UEFA have met today to discuss the wide variety of issues, regarding cooperation between the organisations. The highlight of the meeting was the discussion on the need to return Russian national teams and clubs to international competitions. The parties intend to continue the dialogue and agreed on the procedures for further interaction on the matter. The next meeting involving the RFU and UEFA representatives will take place in February.”
It is unlikely that UEFA would want to act alone in welcoming Russia back while the war is ongoing — other sporting bodies, such as FIFA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), would also have to be involved in talks.
The IOC has already started to discuss letting individual Russian and Belarussian athletes compete at the 2024 Olympics in Paris. This would be a similar arrangement to the 2020 and 2022 Olympics, which saw Russians compete as neutrals following the World Anti-Doping Agency’s decision in 2019 to ban the Russian Olympic Committee for four years.
The RFU, meanwhile, was not involved in the draw for the 2024 European Championship qualifying stages in September, but has been public in its desire to return to the UEFA umbrella, despite the continuing war.
RFU president Alexander Dyukov — as quoted by TASS, Russia’s news agency — said in December: “We are considering the option of returning to UEFA competitions as soon as possible.
“It is important for us to take part in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.”
Late last year, the RFU held a meeting to discuss resigning from UEFA in order to try and join the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), but that idea was met with resistance in some quarters.
(Photo: Getty Images)
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