FIFA announces ruling on Russia football matches

FIFA have ordered Russia to play matches on neutral territory and without fans in a range of measures in response to the military operation in Ukraine.

Russia will compete in any FIFA competitions, which could include the 2022 Qatar World Cup in November and December, under the title ‘Football Union of Russia’.

The flag and anthem of Russia will also not be used in any matches organized by the governing body of world football. The matches affected are likely to start with the World Cup playoff matches in March which had been due to be held in Moscow.

Russia is scheduled to play at home to Poland on March 24, with the inners hosting the victors of a concurrent semifinal between Sweden and the Czech Republic. The national football associations of Poland and the two nations Russia could potentially meet in the final had announced that they are not willing to play Valeri Karpin’s team and urged FIFA to act.

Shortly before FIFA’s announcement, the Russian Football Union (RFU) said it saw no legal grounds for canceling the playoff matches, adding that it could make “all necessary guarantees” around safety.

The RFU also said it had not received any information from FIFA about canceling or postponing the games.

French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet had earlier suggested that he would not oppose Russia being excluded from the World Cup, which will be the first edition of the tournament since Russia hosted the showpiece in 2018.

FIFA’s announcement come at the end of a week in which a range of sporting authorities have announces sanctions against Russia.

Following an emergency meeting on Friday, UEFA declared that the Champions League final in May would be moved from St. Petersburg to Paris.

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