Monday, May 23, 2022

Russia’s football clubs and the national team are considering playing in Asia instead of Europe’s UEFA

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After its clubs and national team were banned following the country’s invasion of Ukraine, the Russian football association is considering leaving UEFA and joining the Asian confederation.

Russians Considering Switch

After President Vladimir Putin authorized the horrific conflict, both UEFA and FIFA banned Russian teams from participating in their competitions in late February. The Champions League, Europa League, and Europa Conference League will not be open to Russian Premier League clubs indefinitely, with Spartak Moscow being knocked out of the Europa League in the last-16 round.

Poland was given a walkover to Tuesday night’s play-off final after the men’s national team was kicked out of qualification for this year’s World Cup, while the women’s national team could be kicked out of the European Championship this summer.

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However, rumors in Russia imply that the country’s football federation may contemplate switching from UEFA to the AFC, with the website Champion debating the benefits and disadvantages of the concept.

Aftermath of the Switching

If this happens, Russia will compete in the Asian Cup rather than the European Championship as part of the World Cup qualification process. The Asian Champions League would replace the UEFA Champions League, and the AFC Cup would replace the Europa League.

However, as the study recognizes, other Asian federations would have to approve the transition, which may be difficult. Israel was in the AFC from 1954 to 1974 before being ejected, therefore there is precedent for nations transferring confederations. They were not a member of any confederation until 1991 when they joined UEFA.

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Read: UEFA Champions League considering coefficient-based qualification model

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