“MAC, MAC…” This is how UEFA tricked Russia

“MAC, MAC…” This is how UEFA tricked Russia
“MAC, MAC…” This is how UEFA tricked Russia

RUSSIA and Ukraine are still the sources of the most important news in the world, events from those countries are followed minute by minute, live, every five minutes new information appears that causes great attention, but there are also accompanying events that led to military actions, and which are more interesting to the world public. Sport is one of the segments of life that was also affected by the war, and football, as the most popular sport, is particularly interesting these days, due to the Russian situation in it.

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Namely, after the Russian media reported quite pompously and with undisguised joy in the past few days that “negotiations with UEFA have begun on the return of Russian national teams and clubs to international competitions”, it seems that nothing has come of it.

At least not anytime soon.

In the evening hours on Tuesday, the Russian media, after the information of the British “Sky” had already gone around the world (which you can read in the continuation of this text, and which “Novosti” conveyed to you during the afternoon), conveyed the following to the public of Russia:

“The Football Federation of Russia and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) have agreed on the procedure for further cooperation on the subject of the return of the Russian national teams and clubs to international competitions, journalists were told in our (Russian) house of football. On Tuesday, the leaders of the two organizations met at a working meeting on this occasion and concluded that meeting with an agreement to continue the talks. The next face-to-face meeting between representatives of the Russian Federation and UEFA will be held in February.”

Although this does not sound bad in itself, it is still far from those expectations in the Russian public that went as far as to say that today’s meeting will bring the return of the Russians to international competitions.

Instead of lifting sanctions – a new punishment

First of all, let’s recall that for almost the whole of December 2022, in the media of the Russian Federation, it was possible to see that the Russian Football Federation (RFS) was thinking about leaving UEFA and moving to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) due to the ban playing on the international stage because of the war in Ukraine.

While for many, those rumors about “moving to Asia” were quite incredible, because so far only two countries have changed the “football continent” (more than ten years ago, Kazakhstan, which joined UEFA, and Australia, which left “Oceania” ” and “passed” under the Asian football cap), it seemed that this was abandoned when the Russian aTASS news agency announced that “next week, officials of the Russian Football Federation (RFS) and their colleagues from UEFA will hold a meeting regarding the potential easing of sanctions against Russian teams.”

It was the third good football news that the Russians received recently, after the information of the RIA Novista agency that UEFA called for the meeting of its Executive Committee and the President of the Football Association of Russia Alexander Dyukov, and the recent announcement that UEFA “started to form a working group whose task will be to trace the return of Russian football, both national team and clubs, to international competitions under its auspices”.

But the British “Sky News” reported on Tuesday that there will be no lifting of football sanctions against the Russians at this week’s meeting. Moreover, a new punishment follows.

“Novosti” brings you the text of the English media:

“Russian football teams will remain expelled from European competitions while the war in Ukraine continues, Sky News learns. Russia will also be sanctioned by taking away the host of the UEFA Super Cup, the famous soccer match in which the winners of the Champions League and Europa League compete, and which should take place in Kazan in August.

Ahead of the UEFA Executive Committee meeting on Wednesday, RFS leaders were preparing for talks with colleagues from the European house of football. The state media of the Russian Federation pointed out that there is a desire of the local Football Association to use this meeting for discussions about the return of clubs and national teams to international tournaments.

But, as we learn, there is currently no chance that UEFA will allow the return of Russian teams while the war started by Vladimir Putin continues.

“UEFA wants to discuss the general state of Russian football, the ‘domestic’ situation there, in order to prepare for that moment, when the war ends, for the return of the teams there to international competitions”, reports “Sky News”.

Was the Russian “move” to Asia realistic?

In December, the world and European football organizations said that “certainly, until further notice, the sanctions under which Russia cannot play on the international football stage will remain in force”, thus they wanted to warn the leaders of Russian football to continue on the “Asian path” on which they were headed . This is mainly because it would be a big scandal for the two big institutions of football if the organizer of the World Cup, which preceded the one recently held in Qatar, “changes the continent” dissatisfied with the treatment. Sanctions with which Russian football is punished because of Russian politics are one thing, and certainly not eternal, but the permanent slap that UEFA and FIFA would receive by “moving” Russians from Europe to Asia is something else entirely.

However, the aforementioned reminder of the current bans did not prevent the Russians from continuing with the meetings, so they announced a session of the Executive Board of the FS of Russia in mid-December, and held it on the 27th, and announced the final decision for December 31.

And then the president of the Russian Football Association, Alexander Dyukov, announced that “the decision on the transfer from UEFA to the AFC is being postponed until further notice”, and that the leaders of the Russian Federation unanimously decided to form a working group that would build a “track” with colleagues from UEFA return” of Russia to international competitions.

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Football team of Russia / PHOTO: Tanjug/AP

What recently happened between UEFA and Russia?

The Russian agency RIA Novosti announced the good news to the public of its country at the beginning of January:

“UEFA will form a working group for the return of Russian football to international competitions by the end of this week.”

This was stated by Maksim Mitrofanov, General Secretary of the Russian Football Federation, for the aforementioned agency.

– The formation of that UEFA working group is planned this week. We’ll see who else joins it. Everything is a matter of agreement, and both sides will make their proposals. Now it is done in a standard way – revealed Mitrofanov.

The Russians were delighted by a move by UEFA

A part of the recent report of the popular Russian sports portal “Championat” should be added to this story, which states the following:

“In the words of the head of the Federation, it is clear that both parties do not want to cut off contacts and are considering all possible ways of cooperation. This includes children’s football, which could be a recipe for a return to major tournaments. Djukov called it a ray of light for a reason:

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UEFA / Photo: EPA-EFE/LAURENT GILLIERON

– The fact that UEFA continues to help us with football programs for children is a ray of light, which allows us to count on the possibility of an agreement. We will continue “shuttle diplomacy”. If we persevere in this, we will achieve our goals faster than if we move to the AFC right now – said Djukov”, concludes the aforementioned portal.

Whether the Russian plan to “move” to Asia was real, or it was a ruse, i.e. just a threat with which UEFA and FIFA were forced to work a little on improving relations with the Russian Football Federation, only – it seems that things are moving from ” dead spots” but, as “Sky News” states – not in the way the Russians would like. They would like to return to the international scene in the near future, or at least not for a long time, but according to the British media, while the war in Ukraine continues, all international doors remain closed for Russian football.

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