FIFA bans Russian flag, anthem at matches over Ukraine invasion

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European nations say FIFA’s measures are inadequate, call for Russia to be expelled from World Cup.

FIFA has ordered Russia to play matches without its flag and anthem at neutral venues, warning the country could be excluded from competitions if the situation in Ukraine does not improve.

Sunday’s announcements which FIFA called “immediate first measures” were, however, swiftly criticized as insufficient by European nations.

FIFA, who condemned the “use of force by Russia in its invasion of Ukraine”, said that no international football matches will be played in Russia, and the country’s flag and anthem will be banned from any of their matches abroad.

The global governing body said the national team would not compete as Russia but as the Football Union of Russia (RFU), and any ‘home’ games would be held with no fans on “neutral territory”.

But Polish Football Association chief Cezary Kulesza criticized the FIFA stance and called for Russia to be expelled from the World Cup.

“Today’s FIFA decision is totally unacceptable. We are not interested in participating in this game of appearances. Our stance remains intact: Polish National Team will not play with Russia, no matter what the name of the team is,” he wrote on Twitter.

“If FIFA’s Human Rights Policy is more than just words on paper, now is the time to put it into effect, excluding the Russian Football Association from qualifying for the Qatar World Cup in 2022,” he added in a statement.

Should Russia prevail, they are then scheduled to host the winners of a match between the Czech Republic and Sweden on March 29.

The draw for the World Cup finals, to be staged in Qatar in November and December, is set for April 1.

The Czech Republic and Sweden have also said they would not play against the Russians.

 

 

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