FIFA refuses to ban Russia football team, but bans Russian Flag
Federation de International Football Association, FIFA shyed from immediately expelling Russia from World Cup qualifying on Sunday but said it remained an option, deciding instead the squad can play using the “RFU” acronym of its football federation, the Russian Football Union.
The unanimous ruling by the Bureau of the FIFA Council, which includes the six regional football confederation presidents, was also that the Russian flag and anthem can’t be associated with the team.
“FIFA will continue its ongoing dialogue with the IOC, UEFA and other sport organizations to determine any additional measures or sanctions,” FIFA said in a statement, “including a potential exclusion from competitions, that shall be applied in the near future should the situation not be improving rapidly.”
FIFA also said the RFU team can only play on neutral territory and without spectators.
The Polish FA wrote to FIFA later on Sunday to formally reject the governing body’s decision.
“The Polish Football Association inform that as a result of the brutal aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and the war that continues there, we do not see any possibility of competing with the Russian national team in play-off matches for promotion to the World Cup in Qatar in 2022 regardless of the name of the team consisting of Russian footballers and the place of the match,” it said.
Separately, the English Football Association announced that its national teams would refuse to play Russia for the “foreseeable future.” Russia has qualified for the Women’s European Championship, which is being hosted by England in June.
The English FA said the decision was taken “out of solidarity with Ukraine and to wholeheartedly condemn the atrocities being committed by the Russian leadership.”
The RFU’s president is Aleksandr Dyukov, who is chief executive of a subsidiary of state-owned energy giant Gazprom and also sits on the UEFA executive committee.
On Sunday, France football federation president Noel Le Graet told the Le Parisien newspaper that he was leaning toward excluding Russia from the World Cup.
“The world of sport, and in particular football, cannot remain neutral,” said Le Graet, who sits on the ruling FIFA Council and has recently been a close ally of the governing body’s president, Gianni Infantino.