FIFA allows Russian Under-17 teams to compete in 'neutral colors'

FIFA has announced that it is partially lifting the ban on Russian teams competing in international play. This decision comes a year after Russian international and club teams were banned from most international competitions due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The ban was put in place by FIFA following the invasion, but UEFA argued that "children should not be punished" and should be allowed to compete.

Under the new ruling, FIFA will allow Russian youth teams, specifically the under-17 girls and boys teams, to participate in international play. However, there are conditions to this allowance. The teams will be required to play under the name of the "Football Union of Russia" instead of "Russia." They will not be able to display their national flag, play their national anthem, or wear their national colors. The ban on Russia's adult teams, including the senior national teams, will remain in force until the end of the conflict in Ukraine.

This decision by FIFA follows a similar decision made by UEFA, Europe's governing body for soccer, last week. UEFA was the first sports body to react to Russia's invasion and argued that children should not be punished for the actions of adults. They believe that banning the youth teams from international play deprives them of their right to compete. UEFA's ban on Russia's adult teams will also remain in place until the end of the conflict.

The Ukrainian Football Association has expressed its disagreement with FIFA and UEFA's decisions and has appealed against them. They believe that football should always promote peace, tolerance, and justice between countries. They have also announced that they will boycott any matches against Russian teams, along with other countries including England, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, and Romania.

Both FIFA and UEFA made the joint decision to ban Russian national teams from international play in February 2022, shortly after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. This decision aligns with other sports bodies, such as the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee, which have also banned Russian teams from competing. The IOC will discuss next week whether to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from the 2024 Paris Olympics, while the IPC has already allowed Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete as neutral individuals.


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