Uefa abandons plan to readmit Russia U17s

7 months ago 97
Russian flagRussian teams have been barred from taking part in Uefa competitions since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine began

Uefa has abandoned plans to reinstate Russian Under-17 teams into next year's youth European Championships.

European football's governing body said last month it was exploring how to reintegrate the Russian youth team into the international set-up.

It had suspended all Russian teams from Uefa competitions after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Now the organisation says finding a way to reintegrate Russia's Under-17 teams is too difficult logistically.

"No technical solution to allow Russian teams to play could be found," said a Uefa spokesperson, who added that the "agenda point was withdrawn".

Uefa had argued that boys and girls should not be punished for the actions of adults.

But around a dozen national associations, including England's Football Association, publicly expressed their opposition to playing against Russia if drawn against them at either the men's competition in Cyprus or the women's in Sweden next year.

"Speaking as an English FA, we made our position very clear 18 months ago - we won't play Russia in any category age group as long as there is a war," FA chair Debbie Hewitt said after the executive committee meeting on Tuesday.

"We felt very strong in that. That is a position we retain."

Ukraine's football association (UAF) saidexternal-link "we thank our European partners for supporting Ukraine".

It added: "Russian football remains isolated, that is where it belongs."

UAF first vice-president Vadym Kostyuchenko said: "We must understand that this may not be Russia's last attempt to regain its position in the international football arena.

"Therefore, we are ready, if necessary, to continue to fight for the continuation of the isolation of the Russian Federation."

As well as barring its teams from participating in continental competition, Uefa also revoked Russia's hosting rights for the 2022 Champions League final and 2023 Super Cup, which were set to be held in St Petersburg and Kazan respectively, as well as cancelling the sponsorship contract with state-owned energy giant Gazprom.

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