Exclusion from the cups? Russia is ready to say goodbye to UEFA

After the exclusion of the national team and club teams from any kind of international competition, the Russia is ready to leave UEFA to join the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).


A hypothesis that had begun to take shape at least since last May and which has gradually become more and more concrete with the approach of the World Cup in Qatar, from which the Russian federation had been ousted. At the moment the AFC represents all major football federations in Asia, as well as Australia (exit from Oceania Football Confederation in 2006) e Guam (Micronesia), with the exception of Cyprus, Turkey, Israel, Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan which instead fall within the sphere of interest of UEFA.

AFC, an association founded in 1954 with headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, is chaired by Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, a sports manager and member of the royal family of Bahrain, defeated in 2016 by Gianni Infantino in the race for the role of FIFA president.

The possibility that Russia enters the AFC, thus effectively responding to theexclusion from the international competitions of the national team and club teams, it has been welcomed by a large area of ​​Asia, including China, North Korea, Syria, Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos. For now, some more grumbling seems to come from ASEAN, an association that brings together some Southeast Asian states.

pros and cons

On the positive side there would certainly be an increase in the prestige of internal competitions as well as a good possibility of attracting important sponsors, such as for example Gazprom, which had already sponsored the Champions League. On the other hand, the presence of a competitive national team such as the Russian one could take away a further place from the states that are already members of the Association as regards the qualifications for the World Cup (Russia would in fact be added to the “external” Australia).

Another obstacle could be represented by an existing rule in the AFC which limits the number of foreigners to be fielded in international competitions such as the Asian Champions League. In the current state of things, for example, it would be difficult for Zenit St. Petersburg or CSKA Moscow to field an eleven with the required characteristics, given the high number of registered non-EU players.

Alexander Dyukov, initially against the idea of ​​leaving UEFA, opens up to this possibility.“New ones have intervened, but we cannot speak to the Asian federation without first contacting UEFA, it would not be correct”Dyukov said. UEFA, which fears Russia’s exit, is currently commenting and not issuing official statements of opposition to this hypothesis. “UEFA is waiting for a change in the current landscape, once the tension of the geopolitical situation is reduced, Russian football will be integrated again. For UEFA, the loss of a country like Russia would be a very serious blow to its reputation , even in the current situation”replied the European association.

Exclusion from the cups? Russia is ready to say goodbye to UEFA