FIFA has ordered Russia’s national team to play matches under the name ‘Football Union of Russia’ in neutral countries without their flag, national anthem, or fans.

FIFA, the world governing body, has mandated that Russia play international matches in neutral countries with no supporters.

Under new rules enacted in reaction to the Ukraine conflict, the country will also have to play under the moniker ‘Football Union of Russia,’ rather than ‘Russia.’

FIFA has also decided that neither Russian flag or national song would be allowed to be used during matches.

Russia is scheduled to compete in the World Cup qualifying play-offs next month, but their first opponents, Poland, as well as the teams they could face in the next round, Sweden and the Czech Republic, have refused to play them.

FIFA had faced calls to ban Russia from the competition entirely, but it announced in a statement that it will not do so this time.

“First and foremost, FIFA would like to repeat its disapproval of Russia’s use of force in its invasion of Ukraine,” the statement stated.

“Violence is never a solution, and FIFA extends its heartfelt condolences to all those affected by the events in Ukraine.”

“FIFA reiterates its request for the swift restoration of peace and the start of constructive discussion.

“FIFA will continue to work closely with the Ukrainian Association of Football and members of the Ukrainian football community who have requested assistance in leaving the country as long as the current situation exists.

“To address football-related matters and in coordination with UEFA, the FIFA council’s bureau – consisting of the FIFA president and the six confederation presidents – has unanimously decided to take immediate first measures, in accordance with recommendations from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which will be in effect until further notice:

“No international competition shall be held on Russian soil, with ‘home’ matches taking place on neutral ground and in the absence of fans;

“The member association representing Russia shall compete under the name ‘Football Union of Russia (RFU)’ rather than ‘Russia’ in any competition;

“In matches involving teams from the Football Union of Russia, no Russian flag or anthem will be used.”

However, these efforts are insufficient for the football associations of Poland and Sweden. Both countries had previously announced that they will boycott games against Russia and had not changed their minds.

On March 24, Poland was scheduled to play Russia in Moscow.

“Today’s FIFA decision is utterly unacceptable,” Polish FA president Cezary Kulesza tweeted. We have no desire to take part in this charade of appearances.

“Our position remains unchanged: the Polish National Team will not play with Russia, regardless of the team’s name.”

“It is apparent that we are not content with this,” Swedish FA president Karl-Erik Nilsson told Fotbollskanalen.

“Our opinion has not changed today, and the situation in Ukraine has not altered merely because we received the FIFA communication, so we have no other opinion today.”

“We also want to speak with Poland and the Czech Republic so that we can tell FIFA what we think, but we were expecting FIFA to take a firmer stance.” That is exactly what we would have done.”

In a statement earlier in the day, the Czech Republic FA stated that “it is not possible to play against the Russian national team in the current situation, even on a neutral ground.”

FIFA said it will continue to monitor the issue and consult with other sporting bodies “to consider any additional measures or fines that may be necessary.”

Categorized as Sport

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