FIFA bans Russian flag, anthem at matches over Ukraine invasion

FIFA has banned Russian flag, anthem at matches over Ukraine invasion,warning the country could be excluded from competitions.

FIFA ordered Russia to play matches without its flag and anthem at neutral venues, adding it could be excluded from competitions if the situation in Ukraine does not improve.

Sunday’s announcements which FIFA called “immediate first measures” were, however, swiftly criticised as insufficient by European nations.

FIFA, who condemned the “use of force by Russia in its invasion of Ukraine”, said that no international football matches will be played in Russia, and the country’s flag and anthem will be banned from any of their matches abroad.

The global governing body said the national team would not compete as Russia but as the Football Union of Russia (RFU), and any ‘home’ games would be held with no fans on “neutral territory”.

However, Polish Football Association chief Cezary Kulesza criticized the FIFA stance and called for Russia to be expelled from the World Cup.

“Today’s FIFA decision is totally unacceptable. We are not interested in participating in this game of appearances. Our stance remains intact: Polish National Team will not play with Russia, no matter what the name of the team is,” he wrote on Twitter.

“If FIFA’s Human Rights Policy is more than just words on paper, now is the time to put it into effect, excluding the Russian Football Association from qualifying for the Qatar World Cup in 2022,” he added in a statement.

Poland had been due to play in Moscow on March 24.

Should Russia prevail, they are then scheduled to host the winners of a match between the Czech Republic and Sweden on March 29.

The Czech Republic and Sweden have also said they would not play against the Russians.

Swedish federation president Karl-Erik Nilsson, the senior UEFA vice president, told the website Fotbollskanalen that he was not satisfied with the FIFA decision with a “sharper stance” expected.

The Czechs said the FIFA compromise did not change their decision not to play Russia.

FIFA said it would try to find a solution with the three countries involved in the World Cup qualifiers.

“[FIFA] has already engaged in dialogue with all of these football associations. FIFA will remain in close contact to seek to find appropriate and acceptable solutions together,” the statement said.

England’s Football Association also said its national team would not play any matches against Russia “for the foreseeable future”.

“Out of solidarity with the Ukraine and to wholeheartedly condemn the atrocities being committed by the Russian leadership, the FA can confirm that we won’t play against Russia in any international fixtures for the foreseeable future. This includes any potential match at any level of senior, age group or para football,” a spokesman said.

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