In an unexpected turn of events, UEFA has lifted long-standing suspension on Russian teams of minor players, allowing them to return to continental competitions this season.
According to UEFA’s official website, the UEFA Executive Committee has green-lighted the readmission of Russian youth selections to European competitions over the course of the ongoing campaign.
The Executive Committee has asked the UEFA administration to offer a solution that would enable the reinstatement of the Russian U17 teams even after the draws have already been held.
However, despite letting youth teams from Russia compete at the international level again, they won’t be allowed to display the country flag, anthem, national playing kit or play on their home territory.
UEFA’s gesture should alleviate tension as the European football’s governing body has no intention of holding the kids accountable for the sins of their government.
While the decision to remove the ban on youth teams looks like a massive step forward, the Executive Committee reiterated its condemnation of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
It’s worth noting that UEFA was the first sports body to react to the illegal war in Ukraine, taking drastic measures to show its firm stance on Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
The organisation suspended all Russian clubs from international competitions, removed all major events scheduled to take place in the country and voided its sponsorship contract with Gazprom in February 2022.
All those measures will remain in force until the end of the conflict in Ukraine, as confirmed by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.
“UEFA’s continuing suspension against Russian adult teams reflects its commitment to take a stand against violence and aggression,” he told UEFA’s website.
“UEFA is determined that this position will continue until the war is over and peace restored.
“But by banning children from our competitions, we not only fail to recognise and uphold a fundamental right for their holistic development but we directly discriminate against them.”
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