FIFA and UEFA have suspended Russian national teams and clubs from all global soccer activities “until further notice,” the organization reported on Monday. The suspension, which comes after Russia’s attack of Ukraine, will probably leave the Russian team out of the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.
“Football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine,” the entities said in a statement. “Both Presidents hope that the situation in Ukraine will improve significantly and rapidly so that football can again be a vector for unity and peace amongst people.”
FIFA supervises soccer worldwide while UEFA, one of six continental associations, governs the game in Europe. The latter declared it ended its sponsorship with Gazprom, a Russian majority state-owned energy company that is one of UEFA’s main sponsors.
“The decision is effective immediately and covers all existing agreements including the UEFA Champions League, UEFA national team competitions and UEFA EURO 2024,” UEFA said.
The decisions have come after sports organizations have faced global pressure to cut ties with Russian athletes and move international sporting events happening in Russia. Prior to Monday’s announcements, UEFA moved its major soccer final from Russia to France and the Polish, Swedish and Czech national soccer teams said they refused to play against Russia in the crucial World Cup playoff qualifiers next month. While they weren’t scheduled to play against each other soon, the U.S. Soccer Federation also said it would neither “tarnish our global game” nor “dishonor Ukraine” by taking the “same field as Russia.”
FIFA also confronted reaction on Sunday after it said Russia will never again contend in FIFA soccer matches under its name, however could play as the “Football Union of Russia.” Poland’s soccer federation president called the decision “totally unacceptable” and said their team is “not interested in participating in this game of appearances.”