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Euro Backlash as FIFA Refuses to Expel Russia from Football

The decision adopts the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling before the invasion of Ukraine, punishing Russia’s cover-up of the investigation into state-sponsored doping.
FILE - A general view of the St. Petersburg Stadium prior to the Confederations Cup soccer match between New Zealand and Portugal, in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 24, 2017. The British government led calls Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022 for the Champions League final to be taken off Russia by European football's governing body to punish its deepening intervention in Ukraine. The showpiece men's game is due to be played in St. Petersburg on May 28 for the biggest sporting event in Russia since the 2018 World Cup.(AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, file)
FILE – A general view of the St. Petersburg Stadium prior to the Confederations Cup soccer match between New Zealand and Portugal, in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 24, 2017. The British government led calls Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022 for the Champions League final to be taken off Russia by European football’s governing body to punish its deepening intervention in Ukraine. The showpiece men’s game is due to be played in St. Petersburg on May 28 for the biggest sporting event in Russia since the 2018 World Cup.(AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, file)

FIFA drew a swift backlash from European nations for not immediately expelling Russia from World Cup qualifying on Sunday and only ordering the country to play without its flag and anthem at neutral venues under the name of its federation — the Football Union of Russia.

Protesting against FIFA’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Poland said it would still refuse to play the country in a World Cup playoff semifinal, which is scheduled for March 24.

“Today’s FIFA decision is totally unacceptable,” Polish football federation president Cezary Kulesza tweeted. “We are not interested in participating in this game of appearances. Our stance remains intact: Polish National Team will NOT PLAY with Russia, no matter what the name of the team is.”

The unanimous ruling by the FIFA Bureau, featuring the six regional football confederation presidents, said the Russian flag and anthem can’t be associated with the team playing as “Football Union of Russia (RFU).”

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