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UEFA leaves Russian football team out of Nations League for 2024/2025 season

by Nate Ostiller December 2, 2023 6:18 PM 2 min read
A Ukraine 'Football stands together' flag is seen prior to the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Fulham FC at Emirates Stadium on Aug. 26, 2023 in London, England. (Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
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The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) did not include the Russian national football team in its schedule for the Nations League draw matches, meaning that the team will automatically not qualify for participation in the 2024/2025 season, UEFA announced on Dec. 2.

The national team of Belarus was included in the schedule, although there was a stipulation that it would not play in any matches against the Ukrainian national team.

The Nations League consists of 54 participating teams and is part of the qualification process for the 2026 World Cup.

UEFA, along with FIFA, football's international governing body, suspended Russia from all competitions immediately following the beginning of the full-scale invasion.

The following year, UEFA said in September that it would ease restrictions and enable Russian U17 teams – comprised of players younger than 18 – to take part in European games.

The decision was widely condemned, and a number of countries, including Ukraine, said that they would boycott any games involving Russia.

After 12 teams out of a total of 55 said they would not participate in any games with Russia, UEFA reversed its decision, ostensibly because it became too technically difficult to schedule the matches.

Ukraine’s sports minister: As Russia kills our athletes, it’s not the time to allow Russians back to international sports
Editor’s Note: This interview was recorded before the International Olympics Committee’s announcement on allowing some Russian and Belarusian athletes to take part in Olympic qualification tournaments. Following the executive board meeting on March 28, the International Olympics Committee (IOC) rec…
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