FIFA Reverses Course, Bans Russian National Team from World Cup

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting on the transport system development via video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, May 7, 2020. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Soccer’s international governing body has reversed course and announced that Russia will be banned from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

FIFA and the European association, UEFA, issued a joint statement on Monday confirming that Russia has been suspended until further notice, ESPN reported.

“Following the initial decisions adopted by the FIFA Council and the UEFA Executive Committee, which envisaged the adoption of additional measures,” the statement read, “FIFA and UEFA have today decided together that all Russian teams, whether national representative teams or club teams, shall be suspended from participation in both FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice.

Kylian Mbappe of France shakes hands with Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, whilst receiving Best Young Player award following the...

MOSCOW, RUSSIA – JULY 15: Kylian Mbappe of France shakes hands with Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, whilst receiving Best Young Player award following the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final between France and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 15, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

“These decisions were adopted today by the Bureau of the FIFA Council and the Executive Committee of UEFA, respectively the highest decision-making bodies of both institutions on such urgent matters,” FIFA added.

“Football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine. 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,” the statement said.

FIFA added that the ban was effective immediately.

The decision comes only a day after FIFA had insisted that it would not ban the Russian national team from the tournament.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin and FIFA president Gianni Infantino walk onto the podium prior to the trophy presentation following the 2018 FIFA...

MOSCOW, RUSSIA – JULY 15: President of Russia Vladimir Putin and FIFA president Gianni Infantino walk onto the podium prior to the trophy presentation following the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final between France and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 15, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

FIFA’s initial ruling was that the team would have to play under the name “RFU,” or the “Russian Football Union,” and could neither use Russia’s flag nor its national anthem.

UEFA also announced that it was canceling its deals with Russian energy giant, Gazprom.

FIFA’s decision also comes on the heels of announcements by the British, Polish, Swedish, and Czech soccer federations that they intended to boycott games against Russia.

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