FIFA had previously faced large backlash for their stance on Russia’s involvement in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. However, they along with UEFA have now taken action and suspended all Russian teams from competitions that fall under their jurisdiction.
Russia were due to face Poland in a play-off semi-final on March 24th, ahead of this Winter’s Qatar World Cup. Poland have come out and stated that they would boycott the game if FIFA don't ban Russia, as have Sweden and the Czech Republic, the winner of whom are scheduled to play either Russia or Poland in the World Cup play-off final.
Both organisations would confirm the bans on social media this evening.
— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) February 28, 2022
FIFA and UEFA suspend Russian clubs and national teams from all competitions.
Full statement: ⬇️
— UEFA (@UEFA) February 28, 2022
This means that Russia will not be able to compete their qualifying campaign for the 2022 Qatar World Cup, with Euro 2024 qualifying and the upcoming UEFA Nations League also off the agenda. Their women's team will be unable to compete at this year's Euros, while Spartak Moscow have been eliminated from the Europa League.
UEFA have also confirmed that they have ended their sponsorship deal with Russian energy company Gazprom with immediate effect.
FIFA had previously stated that that they would not ban Russia from playing, but instead impose various sanctions. Similar to the Olympics, Russia would have to compete under the name of RFU, are not allowed a flag, an anthem, and their games would be played at a neutral venue.
Naturally, given the weakness of these measures, FIFA were heavily criticised, with the backlash has forced them into taking more extreme measures. Below is an example of the criticism from the President of the Polish Football Association.
Today’s FIFA decision is totally unacceptable. We are not interested in participating in this game of appearances. Our stance remains intact: Polish National Team will NOT PLAY with Russia, no matter what the name of the team is.
— Cezary Kulesza (@Czarek_Kulesza) February 27, 2022
The FAI today had announced earlier today that no Irish side at any level will be permitted to play against Russia until further notice. They also stated their aim of being as flexible as possible for the upcoming UEFA Nations League game between the Republic of Ireland and the Ukraine in June.
This came following the news that the English FA would also be boycotting any games against Russia.
Support For Ukraine
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has also become involved in the ongoing invasion, and a spokesperson for the Russian billionaire has announced that he is now working on brokering peace between the Ukraine and Russia.
"I can confirm that Roman Abramovich was contacted by the Ukrainian side for support in achieving a peaceful resolution, and that he has been trying to help ever since," Abramovich's spokesperson told PA.
"Considering what is at stake, we would ask for your understanding as to why we have not commented on neither the situation as such nor his involvement. Thank you."
There have also been widespread clips of emotional Ukraine footballers reacting to support from fans.
Heartbreaking to see Oleksandr Zinchenko in tears before kick-off as both teams show their support for Ukraine 💔 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/bZYNyziMSh
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) February 26, 2022
The whole stadium in Lisbon has greeted Ukrainian football player Roman Yaremchuk in a standing ovation with Ukrainian flags to show their support for Ukraine. He could barely keep his emotions at the moment. 💙💛
Video: FC "Benfica" pic.twitter.com/yNd3qTKiXs
— UkraineEnglishUpdates (@EnglishUkraine) February 27, 2022
Other sports such as rugby and tennis have also become involved. Two days ago the Russian women’s rugby team was allowed play in their Rugby Europe International Championship game against Spain. They lost 27-0.
The Georgia Rugby have also come out and condemned Russia Rugby, accusing them of supporting the invasion in Ukraine.
Russia and Georgia were of course involved in a battle in over breakaway provinces in 2008.
Not a single member of the @RugbyRussia (@russiarugby ) spoke out against the war, on the contrary, they fully supported the #Russian aggression in #Ukraine. #Georgia supporters beg @WorldRugby take sanctions against #Russian team.@EnglandRugby @FranceRugby @AllBlacks @Springboks pic.twitter.com/8d3eWK5aRY
— Georgia Rugby (@GEORGIARUGBY) February 28, 2022
The 6th ranked men’s tennis player, Russian Andrey Rublev, condemned the invasion after his win in Dubai last week. The tennis star wrote ‘No war please’ on a TV camera following his victory.
Russian tennis player Andrey Rublev writing "No war please" on the camera after his win in Dubai today.
— Read Wobblies and Zapatistas (@JoshuaPotash) February 25, 2022