The country has been banned from football by FIFA and UEFA “until further notice”.

Russia Football Union (RFU) is considering leaving European football permanently after both their domestic clubs and National teams were suspended by both UEFA and FIFA due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. RFU is now looking to shift to Asian Football Confederation (AFC), as reported by RIA news agency (via Reuters) and if they do so, the clubs will have to take part in the AFC Champions League and the AFC Cup which are equivalent to Champions League and Europa League in Europe.

RFU President Alexander Dyukov said yesterday, “A few months ago I said that Asia was premature. But now it is an opportunity that we should consider.”

He added, ““I have not spoken to representatives from Asia yet because there is UEFA, they consider us a member of the European family. It would be unseemly of us to start negotiations over their heads.”

National teams, clubs affected

Earlier this year, Spartak Moskow was kicked out of the Europa League in the Round of 16. Spartak Moskow was set to play RB Leipzig but due to the ban, the German club progressed to the quarter-finals with a bye. The Russian men’s national team also couldn’t take part further in the 2022 World Cup European qualifiers with Poland getting a bye and the women’s team thrown out of the European Championships.

Russia was an important member of UEFA, hosting the previous edition of the FIFA World Cup in 2018. Not many World Cups in the past have been profitable but the 2018 edition was an exception which had seen good profit after a successful hostage. Russia was also bidding to be the host for either 2028 or 2032 Euros but with their disqualification earlier in May 2022, they will not be able to do the same, paving the way for a straight run-off between Turkey and a joint England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Ireland bid.

Past incidents of shift in base

In the past, there have been instances where countries have shifted from one confederation to other. The most recent is Australia shifting bases from Oceania to AFC in 2005. Israel, in the initial days, were part of the AFC but was thrown out in 1974 after several Arab countries failed to play against them. Israel then became a permanent member of UEFA in 1991 and from there on have featured at the Euros. Kazakhstan similar to Israel shifted their base from AFC to UEFA in the year 2002. 

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