UEFA takes steps to separate Ukrainian and Belarusian football teams | New
UEFA has taken the decision to ensure the smooth running of football competitions and the safety and security of the teams.
Football teams from Belarus and Ukraine will not be able to be drawn in UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) competitions, the executive committee of European football’s governing body has said.
The decision announced on Friday follows Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, for which Belarus was a key staging area for military operations against the Kyiv government.
“Today’s new decision is taken to ensure the smooth running of UEFA competitions as the safety and security of teams, officials and other participants may not be fully guaranteed due to the existence of ‘a military conflict,’ UEFA said in a statement.
“The UEFA Executive Committee will remain ready to convene further meetings to reassess the legal and factual situation as it develops and to adopt further decisions if necessary.”
Teams from Russia and Ukraine had already been barred from being drawn before the conflict began, and Russian teams have since been banned altogether from all UEFA events following the invasion. .
UEFA has already announced that Belarusian football clubs and the national team must play all their home matches in UEFA competitions at neutral venues with no spectators allowed.
Russian and Belarusian athletes are now banned from competing in several sports due to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and Minsk’s role in military aggression as an ally of Russia.
In April, tennis players from Russia and Belarus were banned from taking part in this year’s Wimbledon tournament due to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, and in March the Court of Arbitration for Sport refused to suspend FIFA’s ban on Russia from participating in the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup Finals over the invasion.
The Russian Football Union had appealed FIFA’s suspension, hoping to win permission to allow Russia to face Poland in a World Cup qualifier due to be played on March 24.