FIFA Bans Russia from World Cup

FIFA Bans Russia from World Cup

FIFA has banned Russia from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar over its invasion of Ukraine.

On Monday, soccer's global governing body and the European association, UEFA, issued a joint statement confirming all Russian teams and clubs were suspended from all competition until further notice. Most prominent is a ban from the World Cup playoffs in March, where Russia was set to compete against Poland before facing off against either Sweden or the Czech Republic in the semifinals.

The announcement follows a recommendation from the International Olympic Committee to ban Russia and Belarus from all global events, as the country breached the Olympic Truce by invading Ukraine. Additionally, FIFA also previously came under intense scrutiny after its president said he was hoping the conflict would be over by the time the semifinals start in response to Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic asking the organization to take measures against the country.

According to the New York Times, the ban also applies to the European Championships in England, where the Russian women's soccer team was supposed to play this July, as well as the Europa League knockout game, where Russian club team Spartak Moscow was scheduled to play Germany's RB Leipzig.

"Football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine," the statement read. "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."

Not only that, but the UEFA announced it would be ending its long-running $50 million-a-year sponsorship agreement with Russian energy company, Gazprom, effective immediately. The organization has also decided to move the upcoming Champions League final to Paris in Saint Petersburg's place.

The publication reported the Russian Football Union was considering a legal challenge against the "discriminatory" ban, saying in a statement that "such actions split the international sports community, which has always adhered to the principles of equality, mutual respect and independence from politics."

Read the New York Times's full report here.

Photo via Getty / Jewel Samad / AFP