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Austritt aus der UEFA möglich: Russland denkt über Wechsel nach Asien nach

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Status: 12/30/2022 12:17 p.m

The Russian Football Association is considering leaving UEFA and moving to the Asian continental association AFC. There is already resistance.

The Russian Football Association (RFU) is expected to make a decision by the end of the year as to whether he wants to leave UEFA and switch to the Asian continental association AFC (Asian Football Confederation).

This is reported, among other things, by the Russian state news agency “Tass”. The Executive Committee of the RFU may already vote on Friday (December 30, 2022) on whether an application with a request for admission to the AFC should be submitted.

Exclusion because of the aggressive war against Ukraine

The Russian Football Association is still a member of the European association UEFA and the world association FIFA, but the national teams and club teams have been excluded from all competitions since February 28. The reason is Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, which began on February 24.

The final of the Champions League, which was to be played in St. Petersburg in May, has also been moved to Paris. In addition, UEFA ended the sponsorship deal with Gazprom, the state-controlled energy company.

With Russia excluded, the men’s senior team missed out on the World Cup in Qatar, for which they could have qualified via playoffs. In order to have a chance of qualifying for the 2026 World Cup in the USA, Mexico and Canada, a change of the continental federation seems to be the only possible way. Alexander Dyukov, president of the Russian FA, who remains on UEFA’s Executive Committee, said FIFA had no objection to letting Russia play in the Asian qualifiers, according to media reports. There is no official statement from the world association on this.

In the history of UEFA with current members, there has never been a resignation. A request from the sports show as to how such a procedure is regulated has so far remained unanswered. The AFC has not yet responded to questions about the schedule and procedure for a possible application for membership by Russia

AFC has already absorbed several associations from other continents

However, the Asian Football Confederation based in Malaysia has already included several associations from other continents. The best-known case is Australia.

The Australians had asked for a change for sporting reasons. They resigned from the Oceanic Association and were admitted to the AFC after the 2006 World Cup.

A change by Russia, which is geographically largely located in Asia, would be politically conditioned. In Europe, politics have pushed sport into the background, according to Russian media, Dyukov said of the plan to possibly leave UEFA. “We saw that at the World Cup in Qatar,” said the president of the Russian FA. Nowadays, Europeans don’t like this, then it’s human rights, then the LGBTQ+ movement, Dyukov taunted the German Football Association (DFB), among others, who are promoting diversity and anti-discrimination with a “One Love” captain’s armband in Qatar wanted, but rejected these plans after an alleged threat of sporting sanctions by FIFA.

Resistance from Australia

The mere announcement that a change in the continental association would be discussed triggered resistance. Nikita White from Amnesty International Australia told the British newspaper “Guardian” that the Australian federation and the men’s national team called “Socceroos” had emphasized the importance of respecting human rights in the run-up to the World Cup in Qatar: “I can’t imagine that Russia will be welcomed into the AFC by those who respect human rights.”

Whistleblower Bonita Mersiades, who once worked as head of communications for Australia’s bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, told the Guardian that Russia must remain excluded from the attack on Ukraine, regardless of the federation.

However, a rejection of a possible request by the RFU does not seem to be certain. Associations such as Australia, Japan and South Korea are likely to oppose Russia’s admission, but the AFC also has Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, China, North Korea and Iran. Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan also belong to the Asian continental association. Against these three countries, Russia have played their only international matches in recent months after being banned by UEFA and FIFA.

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