Russia ordered by FIFA to play in neutral countries with no fans, flag or anthem

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Russia Ordered By Fifa To Play In Neutral Countries With No Fans, Flag Or Anthem Russia Ordered By Fifa To Play In Neutral Countries With No Fans, Flag Or Anthem
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PA Sport Staff

Russia must play international matches in neutral countries without supporters, world governing body FIFA has announced.

The country will also have to play under the name ‘Football Union of Russia’ and not as ‘Russia’ under new measures issued in response to the Ukraine crisis.

FIFA has also ruled that no Russian flag or national anthem can be used at matches.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino was involved in the decision on Russia (Nick Potts/PA)

Russia is due to participate in the World Cup qualifying play-offs next month but first opponents Poland and the sides they could face in the next round, Sweden and the Czech Republic, have already refused to play against them.

FIFA had faced calls to ban Russia from the competition altogether but, while it has stopped short of that on this occasion, it said in a statement “potential exclusion” remained an option.

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A statement issued on Sunday read: “First and foremost, FIFA would like to reiterate its condemnation of the use of force by Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.

 

“Violence is never a solution and FIFA expresses its deepest solidarity to all people affected by what is happening in Ukraine.

“FIFA calls again for the urgent restoration of peace and for constructive dialogue to commence immediately.

“FIFA remains in close contact with the Ukrainian Association of Football and members of the Ukrainian football community who have been requesting support to leave the country for as long as the current conflict persists.

The World Cup qualifying play-offs involving Russia take place next month (Owen Humphreys/PA)

“To address football-related matters and in coordination with UEFA, the bureau of the FIFA council – involving the FIFA president and the six confederation presidents – has unanimously decided to take immediate first measures, in line with recommendations from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and that will be applicable until further notice:

“No international competition shall be played on the territory of Russia, with “home” matches being played on neutral territory and without spectators;

“The member association representing Russia shall participate in any competition under the name “Football Union of Russia (RFU)” and not “Russia”;

“No flag or anthem of Russia will be used in matches where teams from the Football Union of Russia participate.”

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These measures do not go far enough for the football associations of Poland and Sweden, who remain steadfast in their decision not to take the field against Russia.

Poland had been due to play Russia in Moscow on March 24th.

Polish FA president Cezary Kulesza tweeted: “Today’s FIFA decision is totally unacceptable. We are not interested in participating in this game of appearances.

“Our stance remains intact: Polish National Team will NOT PLAY with Russia, no matter what the name of the team is.”

Swedish FA president Karl-Erik Nilsson told Fotbollskanalen: “It is clear that we are not satisfied with this.

“Our opinion is not different today and the situation has not changed in Ukraine just because we have received the message from FIFA, so we have no other opinion today.

“We also want to talk to Poland and the Czech Republic so that we can give back to FIFA what we think, but we had expected a sharper stance from FIFA. We would have done so.”

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FIFA says it will continue to monitor the situation and maintain dialogue with other sporting organisations “to determine any additional measures or sanctions, including a potential exclusion from competitions”.

It added that these could be “applied in the near future should the situation not be improving rapidly”.

Earlier on Sunday, the English Football Association joined the group of nations refusing to play against Russia.

This could have implications for UEFA Women’s Euro 2022, which will be hosted by England in July.

A statement from the FA read: “Out of solidarity with Ukraine and to wholeheartedly condemn the atrocities being committed by the Russian leadership, the FA can confirm that we won’t play against Russia in any international fixtures for the foreseeable future.

“This includes any potential match at any level of senior, age group or para football.”

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