Russia Considers Leaving UEFA and Joining AFC

The Russian Football Federation is reportedly planning to leave the European Football Agency, UEFA, and join the Asian Football Confederation, the AFC, in the aftermath of the harsh sanctions they received over the invasion of Ukraine.

In addition to UEFA, sanctions were also imposed by the world football authority, FIFA, but Russia’s plan to move to the AFC also still depends on the blessing of the two organizations.

The applicable rules stipulate that Russia must first submit its resignation from UEFA, then after obtaining approval from FIFA, they can only then register themselves as new members of the AFC.

Read also: CAS rejects Russian club’s appeal against UEFA suspension

UEFA and FIFA agreed to ban the Russian national team from appearing in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including the annulling of their status in the European zone qualifying playoffs, where they were supposed to meet Poland in the semifinals of Path B.

Even if UEFA and FIFA do not impose penalties, since President Vladimir Putin deployed Russian troops to invade Ukraine, last month, Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic, who were in the Path B playoffs, immediately stated that they were not willing to compete against the ‘Land of the Red Bear’.

Sanctions are also being felt at club level, with Spartak Moscow, who were due to feature in the last 16 of the Europa League, being immediately kicked out of Europe’s second tier of competition.

UEFA has also canceled the right to host the 2021/22 Champions League final from Saint Petersburg to Paris, France.

The transfer from UEFA to the AFC could be an alternative route for Russia for the stringent sanctions they have received, given that earlier this month they also filed an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over these sanctions.

The move of the continental confederation is not new in the world of football, considering that Israel has also moved from the AFC to UEFA and Australia, which since 2005 left the Oceania football confederation (OFC) to the AFC for a larger quota of tickets to the World Cup finals. (Ant/OL-1)