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FIFA suspends Russia from international competition

FIFA is reportedly considering barring Russia from international competition. (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)

FIFA has suspended the Russian national team from international competition following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

The move removes the country from upcoming World Cup qualifying games and effectively keeps the women’s national team from playing in the 2022 European Championship this summer.

Additionally, Russia has ended a sponsorship agreement with Russian energy giant Gazprom, a deal worth a reported $50 million a year.

It’s a further step taken from Sunday, when FIFA announced that Russian teams would still be allowed to compete. However, they would have to compete under the name of the Football Union of Russia and play home games on neutral territory and behind closed doors. Both the Russian flag and anthem would be banned.

Polish FA president Cezary called the measures “totally unacceptable” and said that Poland would not play their World Cup playoff with Russia, “no matter what the name of the team is.” The two teams are supposed to play on March 24. The winner of that game would advance to play Sweden or the Czech Republic on March 29 for a spot in the finals.

Both Sweden and the Czech Republic also condemned the decision, with Swedish FA chief Karl-Erik Nilsson saying he was “displeased” with the decision made by FIFA.

Other athletes have also spoken out about the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine.

On Monday, the International Olympic Committee’s executive board called on sport organizers to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from international competition “in order to protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants.”