Ukraine urges other nations to boycott playing Russia after Uefa decision

By Isaac M September 30, 2023

The football association of Ukraine has written to Uefa’s member nations urging them to boycott matches against junior Russian teams.

Uefa announced earlier this week that it would be reinstating Russia at under-17 level.

The decision comes after a ban on all Russian sides by European football’s governing body after the invasion of Ukraine by Moscow in February 2022.

England’s Football Association (the FA) had been among the national bodies that had said that they would not allow their sides to play Russia despite Uefa’s decision.

And the Ukrainian footballing body has now urged all members to do the same.

“We are convinced any step towards reintegration of Russian representatives is a hazardous and terrifying trend, which means nothing but support to the Russian terrorist state and all their crimes committed in Ukraine,” said the letter, according to the BBC.

The next Under-17 male European Championship finals are due to be played in Cyprus next year, while the women’s U17 Euros are set to be hosted by Sweden in May.

Sweden’s FA has also said that it will not allow age-group sides to face Russia and will not host the country, even if there is now a path to qualification.

Uefa’s executive commitee is expected to meet on 10 October to confirm their position.

Aleksander Ceferin, the president of Uefa, this week said that the move to relax the blanket ban came out of a desire to not punish children for the action’s of the Russian government amid the ongoing conflict.

“Uefa’s continuing suspension against Russian adult teams reflects its commitment to take a stand against violence and aggression. Uefa is determined that this position will continue until the war is over and peace restored,” said the organisation’s president Aleksander Ceferin.

“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.

“By providing opportunities to play and compete with their peers from all over Europe, we are investing in what we hope will be a brighter and more capable future generation and a better tomorrow.”


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