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Ukraine demands FIFA, UEFA review decision to allow Russians to compete

Ukraine on Thursday demanded that FIFA and UEFA review their decisions to allow Russian youth teams to compete in international competitions.

World football’s governing body FIFA on Wednesday lifted its suspension on Russia’s under-17 teams, following in the footsteps of UEFA, and clearing the way for them to play at the World Cup.

UEFA last week reinstated Russian youth teams to its competitions but maintained a ban on the country’s senior sides due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The decision is conditional on Russian teams playing under the name of the “Football Union of Russia”, while the country’s flag, anthem and national playing kit would not be allowed either, FIFA said.

On Thursday, Ukraine’s Ministry of Youth and Sports condemned “the decisions of FIFA and UEFA to allow Russian citizens to participate in international competitions”.

“We call on FIFA and UEFA to stand up to the violence and aggression of the Russian federation,” Ukraine’s Sports Ministry said in a statement.

“We demand to review of the FIFA and UEFA decisions as infringing on the rights of Ukrainian children who have been deprived by Russia of the right to train safely and simply live in their homeland without the threat of being kidnapped, raped or killed.

“The occupying Russian regime continues to kill and kidnap Ukrainian children, destroying civilian infrastructure, including stadiums and sports schools, leaving Ukrainian children no opportunity to play sports or live a normal life.

“It has deprived hundreds of our children of their lives.

“At the same time, UEFA and FIFA are bringing back Russian children to compete, and they, through the fault of these organisations, will be convinced that their country has the right to kill others and is doing the right things.”

Russia was barred from all international football tournaments following its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

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