Football: Russia renounces leaving UEFA and wishes to study a return to international competitions

While the Russian Football Federation had left the threat of a departure from UEFA to join the Asian Football Confederation, it finally retracted. Now, the body wants to find solutions for Russian football to return to international tournaments, from which it was excluded after the invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian Football Federation (RFS) did not carry out its threats. The body announced on Friday that it wanted to form a working group with UEFA to organize its return to international competitions, ten months after the start of the offensive in Ukraine which led to the banishment of Russian sport .

“The Executive Committee of the Russian Football Federation has taken the decision to propose to UEFA to form a working group,” RFS President Alexander Dioukov told a press conference in Moscow on Friday.

According to him, this group must find solutions “to settle as quickly as possible the question of a return of Russian clubs and national teams to official international tournaments”.

The president of the Russian Federation wants to participate in the qualifications of the World Cup 2026

“We are studying the possibility of returning to UEFA competitions,” he continued, adding that three representatives from UEFA and others from Fifa and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would be invited to take participate in this working group. For us, it is important to take part in the qualifying matches for the 2026 World Cup”, also indicated Alexandre Dioukov.

This announcement comes as the RFS had multiplied, in recent weeks, the signals as to a possible departure from UEFA to join the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), which would have significant financial consequences for Russian clubs.

However, on Friday, Alexander Dioukov did not completely rule out this possibility yet, if negotiations with UEFA fail. “We can redirect to Asia, but we need a decision from FIFA to participate in the 2026 World Cup, we will find an agreement faster via this working group,” he explained.

For him, this working group with UEFA must be “a sign that the bridges are not cut and that we can try to find solutions to restore our relations”. “Of course, politics has an influence on football. But we will see how much,” argued Mr Dioukov.

The Russian Federation had been excluded on February 28, four days after the start of the Kremlin offensive in Ukraine, from all competitions organized by UEFA. At the beginning of May, UEFA announced that “no Russian club” would participate in the European Cups (Champions League, Europa League and Europa League Conference) for the 2022-2023 season, currently in progress. In mid-September, the RFS had also confirmed that it could not participate in the Euro 2024 qualifiers, scheduled from next March.

Football: Russia renounces leaving UEFA and wishes to study a return to international competitions