UEFA extends ban on Russia’s national and club sides into next season

Russia and its clubs have been suspended by both the European governing body and FIFA since February following the invasion of Ukraine.
UEFA extends ban on Russia’s national and club sides into next season

By Ian Parker, PA

Russia will remain frozen out of international football for the foreseeable future after UEFA extended its ban on its national and club sides competing in continental competition into next season and dismissed bids to host either Euro 2028 or Euro 2032.

Russia and its clubs have been suspended by both the European governing body and global counterpart FIFA since February following the invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s Champions League exclusion means the cinch Premiership champions in Scotland will qualify directly for the group stages regardless of who wins this year’s tournament – a scenario which appeared likely as only Villarreal, 2-0 down to Liverpool going into the semi-final second leg, could prevent it.

Meanwhile the United Kingdom and Ireland have seen one of the two rivals to their joint bid to host Euro 2028 removed, even if the Russian proposal was not being taken seriously.

Monday’s announcement from UEFA means Russia’s men’s team will not take part in the Nations League which begins in June, and will automatically face relegation from League B.

The women’s team will also be barred from Euro 2022 in England and will be replaced by Portugal, the team Russia beat in the qualifying play-offs. Portugal will go into Group C to face Holland, Sweden and Switzerland.

Russia will also be barred from playing any further matches in qualifying for either the Women’s World Cup in 2023 or the 2023 European Under-21 Championships, with their results to this point declared null and void. Russia had already been excluded from the qualifying play-offs for this year’s World Cup.

No Russian teams will be eligible to play in European competition next season, barring them from the Champions League, Europa League, Europa Conference League, Women’s Champions League and UEFA Youth League.

Zenit St Petersburg have been crowned Russian champions but UEFA published an updated qualifying process which shows the cinch Premiership champions will go directly into the competition’s group stages, bypassing the qualifying play-off.

Scotland’s second-placed side will go into the third round of qualifying rather than the second.

In practical terms that is unlikely to change much, however, given it was already due to happen if either Manchester City, Liverpool or Real Madrid win the trophy and qualify directly via the league.

The bids submitted to host either Euro 2028 or 2032 have been dismissed, with UEFA’s executive committee citing Article 16.02 of the regulations which states that “each bidder shall ensure that it does not act in a manner that could bring UEFA, the UEFA final or UEFA final phase, any other bidder (or any employee, officer or representative of any of the foregoing), the bidding procedure or European football into disrepute.”

Russia, along with Turkey, was one of two rival bids to that of the UK and Ireland to host Euro 2028, but one that had been met with derision given it was launched after the Football Union of Russia had been suspended.

Russia had also rivalled Italy’s bid for the 2032 edition.

Russia had been due to face Poland in a World Cup qualifier in March, but were prevented from playing after their suspension, with Poland instead advancing to the final where they beat Sweden 2-0.

Spartak Moscow, the last remaining Russian club in European competition this season, were kicked out of the Europa League and UEFA terminated its sponsorship deal with Russian energy company Gazprom.

The Champions League final, which was originally due to be played in St Petersburg on May 28, was moved to Paris.

Russia launched an appeal against its previous suspension which is due to be heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, though no date has yet been fixed.

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