FIFA bans matches in Russia, no flag or anthem for the team


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No international soccer matches will be played in Russia and the country’s flag and anthem will be banned from all matches abroad, governing body FIFA said on Sunday as it announced a number of sanctions following of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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FIFA said the national team would not compete as Russia but as the Russian Football Union (RFU) and all matches would be played without fans on “neutral territory”.

These come after dozens of sports federations and clubs canceled competitions in Russia or refused to play Russian teams in protest at the invasion.

The Czech Republic, Poland and Sweden have said their national teams will not take part in World Cup qualifiers against Russia next month. The Football Association of England also said their national team would not play any games against Russia “for the foreseeable future”.

“Above all, FIFA would like to reiterate its condemnation of Russia’s use of force in its invasion of Ukraine,” FIFA said in a statement.

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The International Olympic Committee on Friday urged international sports federations to move or cancel events scheduled in Russia or Belarus. Russian troops entered Ukraine through Belarus when the invasion began on Thursday.

FIFA said it would try to find a solution with the three countries – Sweden, Poland and the Czech Republic – involved in the World Cup qualifiers.

“(FIFA) has already engaged in dialogue with all these football associations. FIFA will remain in close contact to seek appropriate and acceptable solutions together.”

Ukrainian forces were holding back Russian troops advancing towards the capital Kiev, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said as the biggest assault on a European state since World War II entered a fourth day.

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