The 72nd FIFA Congress in Qatar made virtually no decision on the Russian Football Association in all of Russian football. MK-Sport explains what really happened on March 31 in Doha and why this is bad for home football.
In a press conference after the results of the 72nd FIFA Conference in Qatar, the president of this event Gianni Infantino tried to be as diplomatic as possible, answering awkward questions about the fate of the Russian Football Union (RFU) and all of Russian football. Let us not forget to carefully imply that problems do not only exist in Europe.
“The decision to remove the Russian team from the playoffs for the right to participate in the World Cup in Qatar was made about a month ago. It was not an easy decision because it concerns people who love football like everyone else. But we had to accept it. We thought this could help bring us closer to peace. The Russian Football Association has appealed our decision to the CAS and we are awaiting the decision of the arbitral tribunal.
The Russian Football Association, like any other national federation not suspended by FIFA, was represented at the conference. FIFA does not consider the exclusion of RFU a solution to the problem. It is not an option. If we do not have the opportunity to bring people near, we must stop working and go home.said Infantino.
In his welcoming speech to the participants in the Conference, he also referred to Russia. And not in the way that some political and sports actors would like.
“We live in a world full of aggression, conflicts happen everywhere. But you know that football brings people and cultures together. We all remember the last World Cup in Russia, the final of the match in Moscow. It was a great success for football, everything went great. When it ‘s all over, FIFA will be one of the first to try to bring people together“, – said the president of FIFA.
The good “signals” for our football did not end there. As MK-Sport wrote earlier, the infamous fourth item on the agenda regarding the exclusion or suspension of membership of certain national football federations did not concern us. For serious breaches of its regulatory documents, FIFA suspended the participation of the football federations of Pakistan (195 in favor and 4 against), Zimbabwe (199 in favor and 2 against) and Kenya (198 in favor and 1 against). RFS was not even mentioned.
In addition, the international federation, by a majority vote, decided to include Russian in its official languages. Along with Russian, Arabic and Portuguese also became official languages, in addition to the already recognized English, Spanish, French and German. After that, some domestic experts hurried to announce the “successful” completion of the Conference for our football.
Undoubtedly, the inclusion of the Russian language in the official languages of FIFA is a pleasure. But this is essentially a technical issue, as FIFA has long spoken of the need for more complete representation of “the languages spoken in member associations around the world”. Simply put, now all the official correspondence and documentation of the international federation will be conducted in seven languages instead of four, which of course will simplify the work of many national football federations.
It is noteworthy that when the vote on this particular item on the agenda was announced, the FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samura he simply said that it was time to vote for him in order of priority. Without explaining exactly what is proposed to be accepted or rejected. All the necessary documents were sent in advance to the national federations, so no further explanation was needed.
In general, it sounds at least good. We are very tired of the constant miscarriages and suspensions of our sport around the world lately. So even the absence of bad news is already encouraging. There is nothing to be happy about.
On 28 February 2022, following the initial decisions taken by the FIFA Council and the UEFA Executive Committee on 27 February, which provided for additional measures, these organizations jointly decided that all Russian teams, whether national or club, will be excluded from participation. in all FIFA and UEFA competitions “until recently”.
And the FIFA conference never gave us an answer when we receive this “further notice”. Essentially, then, we are talking about an indefinite suspension, as explained to MK-Sport by reputable sports lawyers. Indefinite because there is no time limit. And now it is not clear how to write a diary for the next football season. Should he include European cups and pauses for national team matches or not? What to do during the break for the World Cup final in Qatar? Do I live at home? We certainly did not get there.
There have already been cases in the history of football where a federation and its clubs have been barred from participating in tournaments, but usually such a penalty had a clear deadline. For example, when English clubs were expelled from European competitions, it was known in advance that this ban would last for five years (for Liverpool, six). And the administration knew how to plan the budget, when to start negotiations with potential newcomers, etc. And Russian clubs have been expelled for an unknown period of time – how long it will last, who and when will decide to lift the sanctions – is unknown.
However, there is still reason for optimism.
“The FIFA Congress is a great opportunity for personal communication with representatives of football federations from around the world and FIFA. Despite external pressure, RFU managed to maintain a working relationship with colleagues. The issue of blockade or issues related to any sanctions against Russia were not raised at the conference. On the contrary, as you know, Russian has become one of the official languages in FIFA and we can only welcome that. RFU remains part of the football family, but will certainly continue to defend our legal right to participate in international CAS eventsRFU Press Service reports the head of our Doha delegation, the Secretary General of the RFU Alexandra Alaeva. And these words still inspire confidence that everything will still end happily.