02/03/2022; 8:20 AM By : Steven D. Thompson
UEFA have kicked Spartak Moscow out of the Europa League in a decision that has sparked much controversy.
The Eastern Europe faceoff has gone a notch up, and football is reacting by taking sanctions on Russia higher. Some have argued that it amounts to hypocrisy by UEFA and FIFA to clamp down heavily on Russia. Their argument hinged on the silence of the global bodies when the United States and the United Kingdom invaded countries like Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan.
It is hard to argue if hypocrisy is at the fore in this situation. The current impasse shows that politics is firmly at play in football. The forum is not the right place to discuss the invasion of Ukraine, but football is affected by its fallout as it has come to an end in Ukraine.
Whether it is a temporary cessation of football, the fact remains that they had to take action. Once again, FIFA and UEFA will come under criticism as they are baring their fangs because of the support of bigger bodies.
Well, FIFA and UEFA have suspended Russia until further notice, and that is the latest action taken by both governing bodies.
Russia are unlikely to participate in the Women's European Championships this summer. It is definitive, and Spartak Moscow are now out of the Europa League. UEFA have also terminated their deal with energy company Gazprom.
UEFA have enjoyed the sponsorship deal with Gazprom since 2012. The arrangement is reportedly worth around £33.4m (€40m) per season.
The suspensions meted out to Russia is unlikely to make Vladimir Putin pull back his forces as in the larger scheme of things, football is perhaps just a dot. The general hope is that military cessation occurs quickly, but as the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us, life is unlikely to return to how we used to know it.
Russia have been hit on four different fronts by the sanctions by FIFA and UEFA.
They are now unlikely to be at the World Cup in Qatar later this year. They were supposed to host Poland in the World Cup qualifying play-off on March 24. If the sanctions remain by then, it is au revoir to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Russia also run the risk of being booted out of the Nations League. Russia have two games against Albania in June. They also have games against Israel and Iceland in the same month. The June matches are at risk of not taking place.
Another casualty of the sanction is Spartak Moscow. UEFA kicked the Russian club out of the Europa League and will not play their round-of-16 matches against RB Leipzig. The German club thus qualifies for the quarter-finals.
The Women’s Euro 2022 Championship takes place in England in July. Russia may likely miss out with UEFA set to decide on their participation later.