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Fifa suspends Russia from 2022 Qatar World Cup over Ukraine invasion

Russian clubs and national team banned from all international tournaments, as Qatar's 2022 organisers say they will follow Fifa's lead
Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic wears a 'Stop the war' T-shirt referring to Russia's invasion of Ukraine before an Italian Serie A match against Napoli on 27 February 2022 (AFP)

Fifa suspended Russia from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on Monday after a host of European countries threatened to boycott fixtures in response to the country's invasion of Ukraine.

Fifa and Uefa said in a joint statement that Russia would have no involvement in any upcoming World Cup playoffs and all Russian clubs were suspended from European football until further notice.

"Fifa and Uefa have today decided together that all Russian teams, whether national representative teams or club teams, shall be suspended from participation in both Fifa and Uefa competitions until further notice.

"Football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine. Both Presidents hope that the situation in Ukraine will improve significantly and rapidly so that football can again be a vector for unity and peace amongst people."

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Russia was due to play Poland in a World Cup play-off semi-final on 24 March, while the Russian women's football team was scheduled to take part in the European Championships in England in July. 

Qatar's World Cup organisers told Middle East Eye that Russia's participation in November's tournament was a matter for Fifa to decide.

"Issues relating to the participation of any national team at a Fifa World Cup would need to be addressed by Fifa," a representative from Qatar 2022's Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy told MEE. 

In another move, Uefa said it was cancelling its €40m ($45m) a year sponsorship deal with the Russian energy company Gazprom.

Uefa's decision comes days after it stripped Saint Petersburg of hosting rights for this year's Champions League final, awarding it to Paris instead.

Fifa faced fierce criticism from several football associations last week after it announced that Russia would be barred from using its flag or national anthem in upcoming matches, but it could compete in neutral territories under the name "Football Union of Russia".

Poland, the Czech Republic and Sweden all rejected the decision, stating they would refuse to play Russia in any World Cup qualifiers. 

In a separate development on Monday, the International Olympic Committee recommended that all Russian and Belarusian athletes be banned from competing in any organised international competitions.