UEFA moves to keep Ukrainian, Belarusian football teams apart | News

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UEFA took decision to ensure the smooth running of football competitions and the safety and security of teams.

Football teams from Belarus and Ukraine will be prevented from being drawn against each other in any UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) competitions, the executive committee of European football’s governing body said.

The move announced on Friday follows Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February and for which Belarus has been a key staging area for military operations against the Kyiv government.

“Today’s further decision is made to ensure the smooth running of UEFA competitions as the safety and security of the teams, officials and other participants may not be fully guaranteed due to the existence of a military conflict,” UEFA said in a statement.

“The UEFA Executive Committee will remain on standby to convene further meetings to reassess the legal and factual situation as it evolves and adopt further decisions as necessary.”

Teams from Russia and Ukraine were already prevented from being drawn against each other before the conflict began, and Russian teams have since been banned outright from all UEFA events in the wake of the invasion.

UEFA already announced that Belarusian football clubs and the national team must play all their home matches in UEFA competitions at neutral venues with no spectators allowed.

Russian and Belarusian athletes have now been banned from competing in multiple sports because of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and the role that Minsk has played in the military aggression as an ally of Russia.

In April, tennis players from Russia and Belarus were banned from competing in this year’s Wimbledon tournament due to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, and in March, the Court of Arbitration for Sport refused to suspend FIFA’s ban on Russia taking part in the playoffs for the 2022 World Cup finals over the invasion.

The Football Union of Russia had appealed against the FIFA suspension, hoping to gain permission to allow Russia to face Poland in a World Cup playoff that was due to have been played on March 24.

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