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Russia banned from women’s soccer tournaments; men’s club ban expanded

Russia's President Vladimir Putin. (Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS/Abaca Press/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

UEFA has banned Russia from the Women’s European Championship in July and from participating in qualifying for next year’s women’s World Cup.

European soccer’s governing body said on May 2 that Portugal will replace Russia in the July 6-31 women’s tournament in England.

UEFA also announced bans on Russian men’s clubs next season. They will be barred from the Champions League, Europa League, and Europa Conference League competitions.

UEFA said its executive committee made the decisions to ensure the “smooth staging” of the competitions “in a safe and secure environment for all those concerned.”

The committee also ruled Russia’s bid to host the men’s Euros in 2028 and 2032 ineligible and said the team will not participate in the 2022-23 Nations League.

UEFA and FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, had already suspended Russian clubs and national teams from international competitions this year over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport in March rejected an appeal from Russia’s soccer association to freeze FIFA’s suspension, effectively ending its hopes of competing at this year’s men’s World Cup in Qatar.

Soccer in Ukraine was suspended when the war started on February 24. Its top clubs, Shakhtar Donetsk and Dynamo Kyiv, are touring Europe playing charity games.

The national team will resume its World Cup qualifying program on June 1 in a match against Scotland. The winner advances to play Wales in Cardiff four days later with a place at the World Cup in Qatar at stake.