Ukraine says letting Russia compete would reward violence, promotes blanket football ban

After the decision of FIFA and UEFA to allow Russia's youth teams to participate in international tournaments, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports called on these organizations to "stand up to the violence and aggression of Russia."

The ministry calls on FIFA and UEFA to oppose the aggressor and is ready to "resolutely defend this position as long as russia is at war against Ukraine and until peace is restored on the European continent."

Russia's aggression "deprived Ukrainian children not only of the opportunity to train, but also to live peacefully and safely," and hundreds of children were killed, the department said in a statement.

At the same time, UEFA and FIFA are "bringing back Russian children to compete" who, because of this, "will be convinced that their country has the right to kill others and is doing the right things."

"We demand to [overturn] the FIFA and UEFA decisions as infringing on the rights of Ukrainian children who have been deprived by Russia of the right to train safely and simply live in their homeland without the threat of being kidnapped, raped or killed," the ministry said.

Ukraine has asked all UEFA member associations to join the boycott of any matches involving Russia, the statement said. Football associations of England, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, and Romania officially announced their participation in such a boycott.

Several more countries – Switzerland, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Estonia – are waiting for explanations from UEFA regarding its ruling.

REFERENCE. On April 14, 2023, the Ministry of Sports banned any national teams of Ukraine from participating in competitions in which athletes from Russia and Belarus will be present. According to the order, restrictions on participation in competitions apply to all representatives of national teams from Olympic, non-Olympic and Paralympic sports.

On February 28, 2022, FIFA and UEFA suspended all Russian teams – national and club – from all competitions due to its aggression against Ukraine.

On September 27, 2023, the Ukrainian Football Association, in response to UEFA's decision to admit youth teams from the Russian Federation to European competitions, announced that Ukrainian football teams will not participate in tournaments with Russian clubs.

On October 4, FIFA lifted the ban on the participation of youth (under 17) teams from Russia in international competitions.