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FIFA announces measures against Russia soccer, won’t remove country from 2022 World Cup qualifiers

Soccer’s governing body has taken some steps in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

SOCCER: OCT 07 World Cup Qualifying - USA v Jamaica
A detail view of a FIFA logo is seen on a banner during a CONCACAF World Cup qualifying match between the United States and Jamaica on October 07, 2021 at Q2 Stadium in Austin, TX.
Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

UPDATE: Poland, Sweden, and Czechia have announced they will not play Russia in upcoming World Cup qualifiers. Following the FIFA announcement, the head of the Polish Football Association said it was not enough.

FIFA has stopped short of removing Russia from 2022 World Cup qualifying matches as part of its response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The governing body has adopted the following measures per its release.

  • Russia will not host international matches. Any “home” international match involving the Russian team will be played on a neutral venue with no spectators.
  • The team will compete as RFU, or Football Union of Russia, rather than “Russia”.
  • The country’s anthem will not be played ahead of matches involving RFU.

The second measure is straight out fo the International Olympic Committee playbook, which FIFA’s statement actually cites. These measures seem designed to take away the “Russia” name and attempt to remove the identity of the country in international competitions. We’ll see if that has any impact on the conflict in Ukraine.

Russia currently sits second in its group for World Cup qualifiers. We’ll see if FIFA goes ahead and removes the team from those competitions if the war in Ukraine continues.