The 72nd FIFA Congress held in Qatar did not actually make any decisions regarding the Russian Football Union and all Russian football. MK-Sport explains what really happened on March 31 in Doha and why it is bad for domestic football.
At a press conference following the 72nd FIFA Congress in Qatar, the president of this organization Gianni Infantino tried to be as diplomatic as possible, answering awkward questions about the future of the Russian Football Union (RFU) and all of Russian football. Not forgetting to carefully hint that problems do not exist only in Europe.
«The decision to exclude the Russian national team from participation in head-to-head matches 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 applies to people who love football like everyone else. But we had to accept it. We felt that this could help bring the world closer. The Russian Football Union has appealed our decision to the CAS and we are awaiting the decision of the arbitral tribunal.
The Russian Football Union, like any other national federation that was not removed by FIFA, was represented at the congress. FIFA does not consider the exclusion of the RFU a solution to the problem. This is not an option. If we don’t have the opportunity to get people together here, we have to stop working and go home“Infantino said.”
In his welcome address to the Congress, he also mentioned Russia. And not as some politicians and sports officials would like.
«We live in a world full of aggression, conflicts are happening in all its parts. But you know that football unites people and cultures. We all remember the last World Cup in Russia, his final 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 unite“- said the president of FIFA.
The good “signals” for our football did not end there. As MK-Sport wrote earlier, the notorious fourth item on the agenda of expulsion or suspension of membership of some national football associations was not about us. For serious violations of its regulations, FIFA has suspended the membership of the football federations of Pakistan (195 “for” and 4 “against”), Zimbabwe (199 “for” and 2 “against”) and Kenya (198 “for” and 1 “against”) . RFU was not even mentioned.
Moreover, the International Federation decided by a majority vote to include Russian among its official languages. Along with Russian, Arabic and Portuguese have also become official languages, in addition to English, Spanish, French and German, which are already recognized as such. After that, some domestic experts hurried to announce the “successful” completion of the Congress for our football.
Undoubtedly, the inclusion of Russian in the official languages of FIFA is nice. But this is, in fact, a technical issue, as FIFA has long talked about the need to more fully present “the languages spoken in member associations around the world.” Simply put, now all 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 associations.
It is noteworthy that when announcing the vote on this agenda item, the Secretary General of FIFA Fatma Samura simply said that it was time to vote for him in order of priority. Without explaining what exactly is proposed to accept or reject. All the necessary documents were sent to the national federations in advance, so no further explanation was required.
Overall, it sounds at least good. We are too tired of the constant exclusions and exclusions of our sport around the world lately. So even the absence of bad news is already pleasing. Only here to rejoice that and nothing.
On 28 February 2022, following 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 teams or club teams, would be excluded from the competition. all FIFA and UEFA tournaments “until further notice”.
And the answer, when we receive this “further notice”, the FIFA Congress did not give us. So, in fact, we are talking about indefinite suspension, as explained by “MK-Sport” reputable sports lawyers. Indefinite because there is no term. And now it is unclear how to make a calendar for the upcoming football season. To take into account the European Cups and pauses for national team matches or not? What to do during the break for the World Cup final in Qatar? To sit at home? We haven’t got there for sure.
There have been cases in the history of football when a federation and its clubs were suspended from participating in tournaments, but usually such a punishment had a clear term. For example, when the English clubs were expelled from the European Cups, it was known in advance that this ban would last five years (for “Liverpool” six). And the management knew how to plan the budget, when to start negotiations with potential newcomers, etc. And Russian clubs have been expelled for an unknown period – how long it will last, who and when will decide to lift sanctions – is unknown.
And yet there is probably still reason for optimism.
«The FIFA Congress is a great opportunity to talk in person with representatives of football federations from around the world and FIFA. Despite external pressure, the RFU managed to maintain working relations with colleagues. The issue of exclusion or issues related to any sanctions against Russia were not raised at the congress. On the contrary, as you know, the Russian language has received the status of one of the official in FIFA, and we can not but welcome it. RFU remains part of the football family, but will certainly continue to defend our legal right to participate in international CAS competitions“, – the press service of the RFU quotes the head of our delegation in Doha, the Secretary General of the RFU Alexandra Alaeva. And these words still inspire confidence that it will still end well.