The Russian Football Union wants its teams to return to international competition after European football’s governing body, UEFA, banned Moscow from competitions since Putin sent troops to Ukraine in February.
The Russian Football Federation, RFS President Alexandre Dyukov (pictured above) said on Friday, December 30 that the body has decided not to leave UEFA for the time being.
Russia has been barred from international soccer for 10 months now, following the invasion of Ukraine. According to Dyukov, a working group should enable both sides to achieve a speedy international return of Russian national and club teams.
The Russian federation president wants to invite representatives from UEFA, world football federation FIFA, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as soon as possible to participate in the working group.
Dyukov hopes Russia will be able to participate in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
The Russian Football Federation had discussed a possible withdrawal from UEFA at its Executive Committee last Friday. A group within the Russian federation wanted to join Asia and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
Dyukov did not completely rule out such a switch on Friday. “But that comes into the picture only in case negotiations with UEFA fail,” he said. “We want to show that the bridges with UEFA have not been blown. We want to find solutions to restore our relations. Politics obviously has an impact on soccer, but we will see how much.”
Because of the current sanctions against Moscow, the Russian national team has played only three friendly matches since the start of the war, all against former Soviet republics with membership in the AFC: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
“We are indeed considering the option of returning to UEFA competitions as soon as possible,” said Alexander Dyukov, the president of the Russian Football Union.
“It is important for us to take part in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.”