Ukraine will boycott European football competitions in which Russian teams will participate, the Ukrainian Football Federation (AUF) announced on Wednesday. This announcement comes the day after the decision of UEFA – the European football body – to reintegrate Russian teams under the age of 17 into its competitions, a decision that the AUF “strongly condemns”, according to a press release published on the website of this federation.
The AUF “confirms that it will not take part in any competition in which Russian teams participate”, and urges UEFA to “revisit its decision”, it is written. It also asks other countries to “boycott possible matches involving Russian teams, if they are admitted”.
“Children should not be punished”
UEFA announced on Tuesday that it had decided, in agreement with the International Federation (Fifa), to reinstate the U-17 teams because “children must not be punished for acts for which the responsibility lies exclusively with adults”. The executive committee of the European body judged that it was “particularly regrettable that due to the persistence of the conflict, a generation of minor players was deprived of their right to compete in international football competitions”.
The matches of Russian teams must, however, be played “without the Russian flag, anthem and official outfits,” and outside Russian territory,” UEFA specified. The body also reiterated its “condemnation of the illegal war waged by Russia”, ensuring that the suspensions of all other teams in the country would remain in force “until the end of the conflict in Ukraine”.
Until Tuesday’s decision, Russians were excluded from all international football competitions, both club and national, since the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops in February 2022, a decision taken jointly by UEFA and FIFA.