Russia banned from Euro 2024 qualification

MOSCOW (Agencies): The Russian men’s national football team have been excluded from the qualifying draw for the 2024 UEFA European Championship in Germany, the Russian Football Union (RFU) has announced.

The decision comes after Russian teams were already banned from all UEFA competitions for the 2022/23 season because of the conflict in Ukraine.

“The Russian national team will not take part in the draw for the qualifying round of the 2024 European Championship, which will be held on October 9 in Frankfurt,” read an RFU statement on Tuesday.

“The reason is UEFA’s decision in February to suspend the participation of Russian national teams and clubs in competitions under the auspices of the organization, by default acting ‘until further notice’.”

UEFA has yet to formally confirm the latest sanctions applied to Russian football, but its Executive Committee has been meeting in Croatia on Tuesday to discuss the Euro 2024 draw, among other issues.

The decision will almost inevitably mean that Russia misses the tournament itself as it is deprived of the chance to compete in the qualifying stages.

The Russian men’s national team has already missed out on the chance of reaching the FIFA World Cup in Qatar later this year, after being removed from a qualification playoff semifinal against Poland which was scheduled for Moscow in March. The RFU noted on Tuesday that it had challenged the bans imposed on Russian teams by UEFA and global counterpart FIFA, but that it had lost its initial appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in July.

“The RFU is currently awaiting the full text of the CAS decision, following the study of which a decision will be made on further steps in the framework of legal protection,” it added. UEFA has faced pressure from the Ukrainian football authorities to ensure that Russia will not be among the names included when the Euro 2024 draw ceremony takes place next month.

The interior minister of tournament hosts Germany has also petitioned UEFA to ban Russia and Belarus from qualifying, according to reports in the German media over the weekend.

Before the RFU statement on Tuesday, Ukrainian Association of Football (UAF) president Andrey Pavelko said on social media that the decision to sideline Russia from Euro 2024 had already been determined. “The Russians have nothing to prepare for,” wrote Pavelko. “At least until 2024, they won’t be at official international football competitions.”

Euro 2024 will take place across ten German cities from June 14 to July 14, 2024, with qualifying for the tournament getting underway in March of next year. As hosts, Germany will earn a place at the tournament automatically, while the 23 remaining spots will be available through the qualifying process.

Russia was among the hosts of the last edition of the Euros, which was a delayed event held in the summer of 2021 because of the pandemic. St. Petersburg welcomed seven matches in total at the special 60th anniversary pan-continental version of the tournament.

In the face of the current bans applied to Russian football teams and a wide variety of athletes across other sports, Russian officials have consistently accused international federations of discrimination and allowing politics to undermine sporting principles.

It has also been noted that other nations which have conducted foreign military campaigns down the years – not least the US and its NATO allies – have not been subjected to similar punishments.