FIFA, the governing body of world soccer, is banning Russia indefinitely, according to a New York Times report. The move will knock Russia out of the 2022 World Cup qualifying playoff and keep several other teams playing.
What To Know: Prior to the ban, the steps taken by FIFA had included banning the name, flag and national anthem of Russia at international competitions. FIFA also was set to prohibit Russia from hosting international soccer competitions.
The football federations of Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic all announced that they would not play against Russia, risking their qualification for the most prestigious international soccer competition that is hosted every four years.
Poland was set to play Russia in a qualifier, and Sweden and the Czech Republic also faced a potential match against the country.
Other countries including England and the United States announced they would also not play Russia.
The ban by FIFA on Russia will also knock club teams, including Spartak Moscow, from international competitions. Spartak Moscow was playing in the Europa League prior to the announcement.
Ukraine, which was invaded by Russia, will continue to play in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. The country will facing off against Scotland on March 24 in a game that can be viewed on ESPN+, a streaming platform from The Walt Disney Co DIS.
Why It’s Important: The move by FIFA is a bit of backtracking on previous sanctions. The decision comes after pressure from countries and the International Olympic Committee calling for all Russian athletes and teams to not be included in global sports competitions.
The UEFA Executive Committee previously announced that the UEFA Men’s Champions League Final on May 28, 2022 was being moved from Saint Petersburg, Russia to Paris, France.
The five mentioned teams all rank as the top 35 soccer teams in the world, with the following rankings from FIFA:
- Sweden: 17
- Ukraine: 27
- Poland: 28
- Czech Republic: 31
- Russia: 35
All five teams previously qualified and participated in the Euro 2020 competition, where the Czech Republic and Ukraine advanced to the quarterfinals.
The 2022 World Cup will be played Nov. 21, 2022 through Dec. 17, 2022 in Qatar. Fox Sports, a unit of Fox Corp FOX has the viewership rights to the games in the U.S.
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