Russia has been expelled from the 2022 FIFA World Cup and other football competitions as a reaction to its invasion of Ukraine.
In a joint statement with European football body UEFA, FIFA stated that Russian clubs and national teams had been banned from competitions “until further notice”.
The move came in the wake of a letter written by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), asking sports organisations to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and sports officials from participating in any international events. The IOC said the move was needed to “protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants.”
IOC Executive Board recommends no participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officialshttps://t.co/XZyLIi11XR— IOC MEDIA (@iocmedia) February 28, 2022
The International Olympics Committee last week decided to withdraw the Olympic order from Russian President Vladimir Putin stating ‘the extremely grave violation of the Olympic Truce and other violations of the Olympic Charter by the Russian government in the past.’ The Geopolitical situation amidst the Ukraine-Russia tussle has caught the ire of the international sports community while many have asked to bar Russia from participating in sports competitions and leagues in the future.
Breaking: The International Olympic Committee has called on sports organisations to exclude all Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from international events— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) February 28, 2022
Soon after IOC’s Executive meeting took place, the European football governing body confirmed that Russian players will be suspended from FIFA and UEFA. Earlier on Sunday, Football’s world governing body announced sanctions against Russia. Russian players were however allowed to compete under the name, ‘Football Union of Russia’ with no flag or anthem. With this move, pressure mounted over FIFA to remove Russia while Labour MP Chris Bryant from the UK labelled the body’s response a ‘shambles’.
After IOC’s meeting, the FIFA Council and the Executive Committee of UEFA issued a statement saying, “‘Following the initial decisions adopted by the FIFA Council and the UEFA Executive Committee, which envisaged the adoption of additional measures, 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.”
FIFA and UEFA have suspended Russia from all international football, including the men’s 2022 World Cup and women’s Euro 2022. pic.twitter.com/ZdxVTnMBf2— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 28, 2022
The bodies highlighted, “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,”
In 2019, the World Anti-Doping Agency put a two-year ban on Russian athletes to compete in the Olympic events as a measure to punish the country for its state-sponsored doping program. Going beyond Football, IOC’s steps are going to affect individual Russian players participating in international leagues as well. Daniil Medvedev, the Russian tennis player who bagged world number one after defeating Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka at the ATP 500 tournament might lose his position owing to IOC’s current move.
“By being a tennis player I want to promote peace all over the world, We play in so many different countries. I’ve been in so many different countries as a junior and as a pro. It’s just not easy to hear all this news. I’m all for peace,” said the 26-year-old player affected by IOC’s decision condemning the Russian aggression in Ukraine.
Russian football team Spartak Moscow is also banned by the UEFA – European governing body on football to participate in the ongoing Champions League finale which was due to take place in St Petersburg on May 28, 2021. With the blanket ban on Russia by the European clout in International sports, cancel culture has concreted its way into sports, being dictated by geopolitical changes. Gone are the days, when calls of separating sports and politics were given; it looks like the politics of sports is here to dictate who plays and who doesn’t.