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FIFA and UEFA suspend Russia until further notice

The suspension means that, barring an unlikely change of course in Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the country will not face Poland in a World Cup play-off semi-final next month; UEFA has also terminated its deal with energy company Gazprom; Spartak Moscow thrown out of Europa League

FIFA are in advanced talks about suspending Russia
Image: FIFA and UEFA have suspended Russia until further notice

FIFA and UEFA have suspended Russia's national and club teams from all competitions until further notice.

The suspension means that, barring an unlikely change of course in Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the country will not be able to face Poland in a World Cup play-off semi-final next month, take part in the Women's European Championships this summer and Spartak Moscow have been kicked out of the Europa League.

UEFA has also terminated its deal with energy company Gazprom, which is majority-owned by the Russian state and is also a major sponsor of the Champions League.

The sponsorship deal has been in place since 2012 and has been reported to be worth around £33.4m (€40m) per season.

Which teams are affected by suspension?

World Cup 2022 - Russia were scheduled to host Poland in a World Cup qualifying play-off on March 24 and if they remain suspended at that time, they would be out of the World Cup and unable to progress to the finals in Qatar in November.

Europa League - UEFA has already confirmed Spartak Moscow will not play their Europa League match against RB Leipzig, with the German club advancing to the quarter-finals.

Nations League – In June, Russia are due to play Albania twice, as well as games against Israel and Iceland.

Women's Euro 2022 - UEFA says a decision will be made at a later date about the impact on the tournament in England in July, which Russia have qualified for.

A joint FIFA and UEFA statement read: "Following the initial decisions adopted by the FIFA Council and the UEFA Executive Committee, which envisaged the adoption of additional measures, 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.

"These decisions were adopted today by the Bureau of the FIFA Council and the Executive Committee of UEFA, respectively the highest decision-making bodies of both institutions on such urgent matters.

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Wladimir Klitschko says that no one other than Ukraine will decide how they live their lives and feels every hour counts.

"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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Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted after the ban was confirmed: "This is a powerful message from the international sporting community that we will not tolerate Putin's abhorrent assaults on freedom and liberty. Well done FIFA and UEFA."

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Speaking before the announcement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it is inconceivable that normal sporting relations with Vladimir Putin's Russia can continue following the invasion of Ukraine

The decision comes after FIFA and UEFA came under intense pressure from individual countries to go further in their sanctions, with FIFA first having said that Russia could compete as the 'Football Union of Russia' and play matches outside of the country.

Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic said on Sunday they would refuse to play World Cup play-off games against Russia and on Monday England, Scotland and Wales followed suit.

Spartak Moscow out of Europa League | Spartak: Extremely upsetting

Following the announcement, UEFA confirmed the Europa League last-16 tie between Spartak Moscow and RB Leipzig next month will not take place, with the German club automatically progressing to the quarter-finals.

A UEFA statement read: "As a consequence of today's decision by the UEFA Executive Committee to suspend Russian club and national teams from taking part in UEFA competitions until further notice, the UEFA Europa League matches between RB Leipzig and FC Spartak Moskva cannot take place, and, as a consequence, RB Leipzig are qualified to the quarter-finals of the competition".

Spartak's head coach Rui Vitoria reacts after the Europa League Group C soccer match between Spartak Moscow and Legia Warsaw at the Otkritie Arena, in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Image: Spartak Moscow have been removed from this season's Europa League in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine

In response to UEFA's decision, Spartak Moscow say it is "extremely upsetting" and one "we do not agree with", but are "looking forward to a speedy achievement of peace".

"This verdict is connected to the organisations' position on recent events that have taken place in Ukraine," a club statement read.

"The recent decision taken by UEFA and FIFA although expected, is extremely upsetting. Unfortunately, the efforts that our club made in the Europa League have been nullified for reasons that are far outside the remit of sports.

"Spartak has millions of fans not only in Russia, but all over the world. Our successes and failures bring people from dozens of different countries together. We believe that sport, even in the most difficult times, should aim to build bridges, and not burn them. We are forced to obey a decision that we do not agree with.

"For now, we shall focus on domestic competitions, and are looking forward to a speedy achievement of peace that everybody needs."

UEFA says a decision will be made at a later date about the impact on the Women's Euro 2022 tournament in England in July, which Russia have qualified for.

The suspension could also affect the men's Nations League later this year. Russia are due to play Albania twice in June, as well as games against Israel and Iceland.

Q&A: What does latest development mean?

Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol:

"FIFA have been working closely with UEFA on this. We had the situation on Sunday when the Bureau of the FIFA Council met when they stopped just short of banning Russia.

"They said on Sunday that Russia could still play football but not in the country, but less than 24 hours later, after we've had the Polish FA, the Swedish FA and the Czech Republic FA among others coming out saying they would not face Russia, no matter what they're called or where the games were going to be, FIFA and UEFA have come together and said that we are suspending Russia.

"It's quite significant that it's a joint statement as well because in the past, we've seen how relations between FIFA and UEFA have not always been very warm but on this issue they are totally aligned.

"We've got the World Cup play-off next month with Russia playing Poland but that is now not going to happen. I imagine Poland will go straight into their play-off final against either Czech Republic or Sweden.

"Looking further ahead, we've got the women's European Championship which Russia had qualified for. As it stands, this would mean them not playing in that tournament."

What is the significance of severing ties with Gazprom?

"Gazprom were UEFA's biggest sponsor. They were their biggest commercial partner, paying something in the region of £34m a year to sponsor UEFA's competitions and they have turned around and said, 'we don't want your money'.

"We know you are a state-owned Russian energy company and considering what Russia are doing in Ukraine at the moment, we don't want to be associated with you and we don't want your money."

Usmanov hit by sanctions

The European Council have confirmed that Everton investor Alisher Usmanov has been hit by its latest round of sanctions in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Usmanov is currently a co‑owner of Russia's second-largest mobile telephone operator MegaFon and owner of Udokan copper mine in the country.

In 2017, Usmanov's holding company USM entered into a naming rights deal for Everton's Finch Farm training ground.

Usmanov is also president of the International Fencing Federation and a member of the International Olympic Committee's Olympic Channel Commission.

"Alisher Usmanov is pro-Kremlin oligarch with particularly close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin," the council said.

"He has been referred to as one of Vladimir Putin's favourite oligarchs. He is considered to be one of Russia's businessmen-officials, who were entrusted with servicing financial flows, but their positions depend on the will of the President.

"Mr Usmanov has reportedly fronted for President Putin and solved his business problems. According to FinCEN files he paid $6 million (£4.5m) to Vladimir Putin's influential adviser Valentin Yumashev.

"Dmitry Medvedev, the Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia and former President and Prime Minister of Russia, benefited from the personal use of luxurious residences controlled by Mr Usmanov.

"Therefore he actively supported materially or financially Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea and the destabilisation of Ukraine."

On Everton's website, on a USM Holdings page, it says: "Aside from the naming and branding of the training ground, USM also benefit from a set of global marketing rights including presence on media interview backdrops, LED advertising at Goodison Park on matchdays, VIP hospitality and player access for brands within the group."

The EU Council's announcement also said: "Restrictive measures, which now apply to a total of 680 individuals and 53 entities, include an asset freeze and a prohibition from making funds available to the listed individuals and entities. In addition, a travel ban applicable to the listed persons prevents these from entering or transiting through EU territory."

High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said: "With these additional sanctions, we are targeting all who are having a significant economic role in supporting Putin's regime, and benefit financially from the system. These sanctions will expose the wealth of Putin's elite.

"Those who enable the invasion of Ukraine will pay a price for their action."

Sky Sports News has contacted Everton for comment.

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