The European football’s governing body UEFA on Tuesday confirmed that Russia will not be allowed to play in Under-17 European Championship qualifying games this month. UEFA staff tried to insert Russia into its youth competitions despite the finished qualifying groups draw which each group is due to play all its games. The Uefa argued last month that youths should not be punished for the actions of adults as they were discussing how to reintegrate the Russian youth team into the international games after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.
The football associations of England, Sweden, and Poland all agreed not to play any game against Russia’s youth teams. Ukraine’s FA also refused to play in any competitions in which Russian teams will be permitted to participate. The European football body said the organization is finding it difficult to reintegrate Russia’s Under-17 teams logistically after another executive committee meeting last Tuesday. In UEFA’s executive committee, not less than 12 of the 55 European member federations said their teams would not play against Russia.
UEFA spokesperson FA chair Debbie Hewitt said after the executive committee meeting on Tuesday: “No technical solution to allow Russian teams to play could be found,” he added that “agenda point was withdrawn” he continued: “Speaking as an English FA, we made our position very clear 18 months ago – we won’t play Russia in any category age group as long as there is a war,” “We felt very strong in that. That is a position we retain.” Ukraine’s Football Association (UAF) said: “We thank our European partners for supporting Ukraine”. “Russian football remains isolated, that is where it belongs.” He concluded. UAF first vice-president Vadym Kostyuchenko said: “We must understand that this may not be Russia’s last attempt to regain its position in the international football arena. Therefore, we are ready, if necessary, to continue to fight for the continuation of the isolation of the Russian Federation.”
The UEFA barred Russian teams from participating in continental competitions and revoked Russia’s hosting rights for the 2022 Champions League final and 2023 Super Cup, which was set to be held in St Petersburg and Kazan respectively, as well as canceling the sponsorship contract with state-owned energy giant Gazprom and many more.