UEFA abandons plans to reinstate Russian teams


Russia will not be allowed to play in Under-17 European Championship qualifying games this month, European football’s governing body UEFA said on Tuesday.

For the last two weeks, UEFA staff explored inserting Russia into its men’s and women’s youth competitions despite having already drawn the qualifying groups. Each group was due to play all its games spread over several days in a single host country.

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After assessing how Russian youth teams could be reintegrated, UEFA said after another executive committee meeting on Tuesday that “the agenda point was withdrawn as no technical solution to allow Russian teams to play could be found.”

The policy provoked a split in UEFA’s executive committee and at least 12 of the 55 European member federations said their teams would continue to refuse to play games against Russia.

The football associations of England, Sweden and Poland all committed to not participating in games against Russia’s youth teams. Ukraine’s FA went further, refusing to play in any competitions in which Russian teams were permitted.

Previously, UEFA had said it was “aware that children should not be punished for actions whose responsibility lies exclusively with adults.

“For these reasons, the UEFA Executive Committee has decided that Russian teams of minor players will be readmitted to its competitions in the course of this season.”

UEFA added to its initial proposals that Russian teams’ matches would be played outside the country and would not feature its flag, anthem or national kit.

“We have made ourselves really clear on Russia,” English Football Association CEO Mark Bullingham told reporters at UEFA headquarters. “From our understanding nothing has changed.”

UEFA leaders, including its president Aleksander Ceferin, did not meet with reporters Tuesday.


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