UEFA will not let Russian junior teams back into football competitions

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Russian youth teams will not be allowed into continental football competitions during this season, European football’s governing body UEFA announced Tuesday.

The governing body said “no technical solution to allow Russian teams to play could be found,” backtracking on a previous move to end its blanket ban on all Russian teams.

Russian international and club teams have been banned from participating in European competitions by UEFA since the Kremlin launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, but the governing body last month had announced plans to ease the ban and allow under-17 boys and girls teams to play.

That announcement had triggered a backlash around Europe, with several countries saying they wouldn’t play against Russian teams despite UEFA’s ruling. It also forced the body’s Swedish vice president, Karl-Erik Nilsson, to resign as chairman of the Swedish Sports Confederation, due to his support for ending the ban.

However, football’s global governing body FIFA also announced last month it would allow Russian youth teams to participate in the men’s and women’s under-17 World Cup tournaments, after banning all Russian teams in February 2022.

The Ukrainian Football Association (UAF) had last week condemned both UEFA and FIFA for their decision to readmit Russian youth teams, saying they would boycott any match against Russian teams. On Tuesday, UAF thanked UEFA for its new decision.

“The position of our state, with which the Ukrainian Football Association appealed to UEFA and all national associations — its members, was heard,” said UAF in a statement. “Russian football remains isolated, that is, where it belongs.”