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What UEFA Ban On Russia Means For Champions League Qualifying

What UEFA Ban On Russia Means For Champions League Qualifying
By Jonathan Byrne Updated

This week FIFA and UEFA imposed sanctions on Russian clubs in European competitions in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

In essence, the Russian national team is banned from World Cup qualifying for Qatar in 2022, as well as the UEFA Nations League and Euro 2024 qualification.

The women's national team won't be at this year's Euros and Spartak Moscow have been eliminated from this year's Europa League competition.

The ban is in place 'until further notice' and FIFA and UEFA released a joint statement:

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. 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.

It's not yet known set in stone how this will affect European qualification going forward, given the sanctions are cognisant of the events that are unfolding in Ukraine.

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But this will likely affect the following Champions League and Europa League campaigns. The Russian League is bizarrely continuing as normal.

It is due to finish at the end of May. If competitive sanctions are still in place by then, there could be some extra places up for grabs for teams from other leagues.

Russian Clubs Out Of Europe

Two places are usually allocated to the highest placed teams in the Russian League. The league champions automatically qualify, with the runners-up placing in the third qualifying round.

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As it stands the Russian Cup winners qualify for the Europa League group stages automatically, so that's another place in Europe that could be up for grabs.

Two Russian clubs qualify for the Europa Conference League if the inaugural format is to be renewed. The fourth and fifth place teams enter the second and third qualification rounds.

This, in total, would amount to five places being up for grabs at a minimum for teams across the 38 professional leagues in Europe at the moment.

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It would ultimately be a call from UEFA as to how that was divided up. It's unlikely an extra place would be allocated to Spain, England, Germany, or Italy who have the most teams in Europe.

UEFA may opt to enter a lottery-based system, which might be the fairest outcome of them all, for the lower-tiered leagues and work from there.

This could affect teams in the likes of the League of Ireland and those without automatic Champions League qualification spots such as Northern Ireland and Wales.

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However, money talks when it comes to European competition, so it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility to see extra places awarded to the Premier League or La Liga.

It'll be an interesting couple of months to see how it plays out. A solution to the Ukrainian conflict is far more important than any club competition, it's worth noting.

See Also: FIFA & UEFA Suspend Russian Teams From All International Competitions

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