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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

FIFA would not stand in way of Russian switch to Asia – media

Russia is contemplating a move to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC)

FIFA will not impose barriers on Russia’s potential qualification for the 2026 World Cup if it completes a move from European football governing body UEFA to its Asian equivalent, according to a report.

UEFA has maintained a months-long suspension of Russian football teams at all levels in the wake of the onset of the military operation in Ukraine in February.

This has led to the Russian Football Union (RFU) opening the door to a potential switch from UEFA to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), where it would presumably be more welcome and avoid similar bans. 


The issue was discussed an RFU executive committee meeting last week, with a decision potentially being made by the end of 2023. 

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Russian football official Aleksandr Dyukov summarized the results of the meeting on Friday.
Russian football boss comments on Asian move

RFU president Aleksandr Dyukov has said the step would be unprecedented, but that his organization does not see light at the end of the tunnel regarding the lifting of the UEFA sanctions in the near future.   


According to Russian outlet Match TV, citing a source within FIFA, Russia’s reinstatement to the qualification campaign for the 2026 World Cup could be a decisive factor in Russia moving to the AFC. FIFA would “not interfere” with the move, the report added.

Dyukov has also said that a final decision on the matter is expected on December 27, ahead of a December 31 deadline to ensure that Russia would be eligible under the remit of its potentially new federation to take part in the 2026 World Cup qualification campaign.

However, while the move would potentially reinstate the Russian national team into international competitions, it would also mean that Russian clubs such as Zenit St Petersburg, CSKA Moscow, and others would no longer be able to participate in competitions such as the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.

READ MORE: Talk of Russian switch to Asia ‘justified’ – football official


UEFA said it would not comment until it had a received a formal request from the RFU to leave, according to Match TV. 

Reports last week stated that UEFA would be against losing Russia from among its members, despite the current sanctions because of the situation in Ukraine.  

December 26, 2022 at 11:34PM


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