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UEFA revokes decision allowing Russian youth teams to play in international tournaments

UEFA backtracked on its plan after 12 of 55 member federations vowed to boycott games against Russian teams, participating in the European Championships.
Credit: Associated Press
UEFA revokes decision allowing Russian youth teams to play in international tournaments

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has decided against allowing Russian youth teams under the age of 17 to participate in qualifying games for the European Championships, the Associated Press reported.

On 10 October, after an executive committee meeting, UEFA said that the agenda item regarding the participation of the Russian football youth team in the tournaments was withdrawn “as no technical solution to allow Russian teams to play could be found.”

On 28 February 2022, all Russian football teams were suspended by FIFA and UEFA from participating in international competitions due to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

On 26 September 2023, UEFA surprisingly eased its policy imposed in 2022. UEFA had cited the “importance of not punishing children for the decisions of a national government” and suggested that Russian male and female football teams under 17 would participate in national team tournaments under a neutral flag and without the national anthem and Russian kit.

On 27 September 2023, in response to UEFA’s decision, the Ukrainian Football Association announced that Ukrainian football teams would not participate in tournaments with Russian clubs. Along with Ukraine, four other European countries – England, Poland, Latvia, and Sweden – boycotted competitions of UEFA. This provoked a split in UEFA’s executive committee. In addition, at least 12 of the 55 member federations said their teams would continue to refuse to play games against Russia.

On 10 October, the UEFA committee withdrew the agenda point “as no technical solution to allow Russian teams to play could be found.”

UEFA’s updated decision came after awarding its men’s Euro 2028 hosting rights to the United Kingdom and Ireland, whose members have opposed playing Russia, and the 2032 edition to Italy and Türkiye, whose executive committee members had supported the pro-Russia move.

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