Only boys under 17 years old received admis­sion, but oth­er coun­tries are already boy­cotting UEFA’s deci­sion.

On the evening of Sep­tem­ber 26, the Union of Euro­pean Foot­ball Asso­ci­a­tions (UEFA) made an unex­pect­ed deci­sion: it allowed Russ­ian nation­al teams con­sist­ing of under-17 play­ers (men and women) to return to inter­na­tion­al tour­na­ments.

Why did UEFA make this decision?

Youth nation­al teams, which include play­ers under the age of 17, will now be able to take part in inter­na­tion­al com­pe­ti­tions under the aus­pices of UEFA. Russ­ian teams will also return to tour­na­ments where the draw has already been held.

Russ­ian foot­ball play­ers will be affect­ed by the fol­low­ing restric­tions:

  • play­ers will play home match­es on neu­tral ter­ri­to­ry;
  • enter the field with­out the anthem and flag;
  • Do not wear uni­forms with state sym­bols dur­ing the match.

UEFA empha­sized that oth­er teams from Rus­sia are still unable to take part in inter­na­tion­al com­pe­ti­tions. The deci­sion was made so as not to lim­it the devel­op­ment of chil­dren and their sports future.

“By pro­hibit­ing chil­dren from par­tic­i­pat­ing in our com­pe­ti­tions, we not only fail to rec­og­nize and sup­port the fun­da­men­tal right to their glob­al devel­op­ment, but we also direct­ly dis­crim­i­nate against them.

By giv­ing them the oppor­tu­ni­ty to play and com­pete against their peers from across Europe, we are invest­ing in a brighter future and a gen­er­a­tion that we hope will become more capa­ble and vibrant,” said UEFA Pres­i­dent Alek­san­dar Čeferin.

Will Russian national teams be able to play at the Euro?

UEFA’s deci­sion means that the Russ­ian U17 men’s team will be able to take part in the qual­i­fy­ing round of the 2023/24 Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship, which will take place from Sep­tem­ber 27 to Novem­ber 21. Based on the results, 15 teams will be deter­mined that will play in the final stage of the Euro in May next year in Cyprus.

The Russ­ian U17 wom­en’s team will also take part in the Euro 2023/24 selec­tion. Eight teams will qual­i­fy for the final stage. The match­es will take place in Swe­den in May 2024.

The posi­tion of oth­er nation­al teams may inter­fere — sev­er­al fed­er­a­tions have already announced their protest: Ukraine, Poland, Latvia, Eng­land, Swe­den (the list is grad­u­al­ly grow­ing). At the same time, Swe­den, where the wom­en’s cham­pi­onship will be held, stat­ed that it would not allow the Russ­ian team to par­tic­i­pate in the match­es.

Let us remind you that Russ­ian foot­ball has been sus­pend­ed from com­pe­ti­tions under the aus­pices of UEFA and FIFA since the end of Feb­ru­ary 2022. This affect­ed the Russ­ian nation­al team, as well as clubs that were sus­pend­ed from par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Cham­pi­ons League, Europa League and Con­fer­ence League.