FIFA to propose neutral site but no ban yet for Russia

Under mounting pressure to act against Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, the management of world football’s governing body agreed on...

Under mounting pressure to act against Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, the management of world football’s governing body agreed on Sunday to a series of measures that would come into effect for Russia’s crucial qualifiers for the World Cup next month. But the proposals – which include a ban on Russia’s name, flag and anthem and a neutral venue for its games – rule out the outright ban on the Russian national team that opponents are demanding, which fails to whether the sanctions will resolve the confrontation, or whether the games will be played at all.

Russia were drawn against Poland in March as part of a four-team group for one of Europe’s last places at the World Cup in Qatar later this year. If Russia were to win this game, they would face Sweden or the Czech Republic for a place in Qatar when the tournament opens in November. Russia’s first game and possible second game are, for the moment, scheduled in Moscow.

The other three countries involved — firstly, Polandthen Sweden and the Czech Republic – have all refused to play against Russia under any circumstances in protest against the Russian invasion of neighboring Ukraine. Several top players, including Poland’s Robert Lewandowski, the reigning FIFA World Player of the Year, have backed the decision to boycott all matches involving Russia.

On Sunday, a group of senior FIFA officials sought to find a way out of the crisis by agreeing to penalize Russia by ordering that its team be allowed to play but only in a neutral venue; without its flag or its national anthem; and only if his side agree to be known by a different name, according to three senior football officials familiar with the talks. People have declined to speak publicly ahead of an announcement, which could come as early as Sunday evening.

The measures mirror some of the sanctions imposed on Russian teams by the International Olympic Committee after Russia was caught running a massive state-sponsored doping program; these penalties were widely derided as inadequate by athletes and Olympic officials from other countries.

Nor may they be enough to persuade Russian rivals to agree to share ground with a Russian team and put FIFA in the awkward position of expelling three of its members while allowing Russia access. without question at the World Cup, the flagship event of football.

FIFA declined to comment on proposed sanctions against Russia, or opposition from the other three federations who have vowed not to play. FIFA’s measures are only the first step in actions against the country’s football teams, senior football officials have said, and a more severe sanction – most likely a total ban on Russian teams from FIFA competitions – could be imposed if Russia’s attacks on Ukraine continue.

The Russian Football Federation, meanwhile, rejected even the suggestion that he would not play the game, or games, as expected in Moscow. The federation, known as the RFU, said it would continue to prepare for the games.

“At this time, the RFU has not received any information from FIFA regarding the likelihood of a postponement or cancellation of the World Cup qualifiers scheduled for March 24-29 in Moscow,” the statement said. The Russian Federation said. “We see no legal basis to cancel the playoff game between the Russian and Polish national teams and the subsequent meeting with Sweden or the Czech Republic. The RFU continues to prepare for these games.

Russia, its top leaders and several wealthy individuals and companies have already been targeted by the West with heavy sanctions that have an immediate effect on life in the country, including the banning of air travel by Russian airlines to the most parts of Europe. This ban would most likely make it difficult to find a venue for any match involving the Russian team.

Russia is already widely considered a pariah in international sporting circles after a state-sponsored doping program corrupted a series of international sporting events, including world championships and several editions of the Olympic Games.

If the Russian team qualifies for the World Cup – and if it is allowed to participate in the tournament – it will not be allowed to use its flag, play its anthem or be known by its usual name under a set of existing sanctions handed down two years ago. by the World Anti-Doping Regulator. These penalties do not cover qualifying matches.

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Newsrust - US Top News: FIFA to propose neutral site but no ban yet for Russia
FIFA to propose neutral site but no ban yet for Russia
Newsrust - US Top News
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