Russia suspended from international soccer over Ukraine invasion, will miss World Cup

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Russia’s Aleksandr Erokhin in action with Cyprus’ Grigoris Kastanos, Gazprom Arena, Saint Petersburg, Russia, November 11, 2021.
Anton Vaganov | Reuters

Russia’s soccer teams were suspended indefinitely from international competition by major governing bodies Monday because of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

The ban means that Russia’s national team will be blocked from playing in the 2022 World Cup.

Russia had been set to compete soon for one of the slots allocated to European nations in that quadrennial competition, which will be held in Qatar.

The suspension from international play was imposed jointly on Russia’s national squad and on club teams by FIFA, the world-wide governing body for soccer, and UEFA, which oversees European soccer.

Before Monday’s announcement, FIFA had faced criticism on Sunday for a decision to allow Russia to continue competing for a World Cup slot. Russia had been set to play Poland next month in a play-off.

In a joint statement Monday, the groups said, “Following the initial decisions adopted by the FIFA Council and the UEFA Executive Committee, which decisions 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.”

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

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