A shocking decision by FIFA towards professional players in Russia

FIFPro has asked FIFA to allow foreign players in Russia to leave their clubs permanently due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

FIFPro and the World Leagues Forum submitted a joint statement to FIFA to allow professional players in Russia to terminate their contracts with their clubs, after being told that players could move temporarily to other clubs until June 30, after which they would return to Russia.

The final decision in this regard will be made by the FIFA office, which includes the presidents of the six confederations.

The World Leagues Forum, which represents European leagues, decided to exclude the major leagues in Russia from its membership.

Hundreds of foreign players play in Russia, but they will not be able to leave their clubs or sign new clubs outside the summer and winter transfer periods.

Jonas Bayer-Hoffmann, general secretary of FIFPro, and Jerome Berlumett, general secretary of the World Leagues Forum, wrote to FIFA last week with the aim of allowing foreign players playing in Russia to transfer their professional experience to other countries.

The Russian-Ukrainian conflict gained a new turning point, on February 21, after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent republics of Ukraine, in an escalatory step that drew great anger from Kyiv and its Western allies.

In the wake of this, the Russian forces began, at dawn on Thursday, February 24, to launch a military operation in eastern Ukraine, which opened the door to the possibility of the outbreak of a “third world war”, which would be the first in the twenty-first century.

It is noteworthy that Russia has not qualified for the World Cup finals yet, but must pass the European supplement in the second track, which includes the teams of Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic, all of which refused to face the Russian team.

It is scheduled to play Poland with Russia in Moscow on March 24 in the semi-finals of the European play-off qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with the winner meeting with Sweden or Czech Republic, who play on the same day.

FIFA again condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, stressing that “violence is never a solution”, expressing its deep solidarity with all people affected by what is happening in Ukraine.

FIFA has taken several decisions, foremost of which is not to play any international competition on Russian soil, as the confrontations are played on neutral ground and without spectators.

FIFA’s decisions are as follows:

1- No international competition will be played on the territory of Russia, as matches will be played on neutral ground and without spectators.

2- A member association representing Russia must participate in any competition under the name “Russian Football Federation” and not “Russia”.

3- The flag or anthem of Russia will not be used in matches involving teams from the Russian Football Association.

The FIFA statement read:

“First of all FIFA would like to reiterate its condemnation of the use of force by Russia in its invasion of Ukraine, violence is never a solution and FIFA expresses its deep solidarity with all the people affected by what is happening in Ukraine.

FIFA once again calls for the urgent restoration of peace and the start of a constructive dialogue immediately. FIFA remains in close contact with the Ukrainian Football Association and members of the Ukrainian football community who are requesting support to leave the country as long as the current conflict continues.

To address matters relating to football and in coordination with UEFA, the Bureau of the FIFA Council – which includes the FIFA President and the six FIFA Presidents – has unanimously decided to take immediate preliminary measures, in line with the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and will be in effect until further notice:

• No international competition will be played on the territory of Russia, as the “domestic” matches will be played on neutral ground and without an audience.

• A member association representing Russia must participate in any competition under the name “Russian Football Federation (RFU)” and not “Russia”.

• The flag or anthem of Russia will not be used in matches involving teams from the Russian Football Association.

FIFA will continue its ongoing dialogue with the IOC, UEFA and other sports organizations to determine any additional measures or sanctions, including possible exclusion from competitions, which will be applied in the near future if the situation does not improve rapidly. The FIFA Council remains ready to take action. None of these decisions.

Most importantly, FIFA believes strongly in the need to unite the sporting movement in its decisions on this subject and that sport must continue to be a vector of peace and hope.

With regard to the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, FIFA has taken good note of the positions expressed by the Polish Football Association, the Football Association of the Czech Republic and the Swedish Football Association via social media and has already engaged in dialogue with all, these football associations, VIVA will keep in close contact to search for suitable and acceptable solutions together.

By Editor

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