On Tues­day, Sep­tem­ber 26, the Union of Euro­pean Foot­ball Asso­ci­a­tions (UEFA) made an unex­pect­ed deci­sion: it allowed Russ­ian nation­al teams con­sist­ing of play­ers under 17 years of age to return to inter­na­tion­al tour­na­ments. Sev­er­al Euro­pean coun­tries announced a boy­cott of the match against Russ­ian nation­al teams. The UEFA lead­er­ship called the actions of the protest­ing fed­er­a­tions incon­sis­tent.

On Tues­day, 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.

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 peers from across Europe, we are invest­ing in a brighter future and a gen­er­a­tion that we hope will become more capa­ble and vibrant”, said the Pres­i­dent UEFA Alexan­der Ceferin.

A num­ber of restric­tions apply to Russ­ian ath­letes: teams will have to play their match­es on neu­tral ter­ri­to­ry with­out the use of the flag or anthem.

If such a deci­sion is made, then the foot­ball author­i­ties, I think, will force all region­al fed­er­a­tions to obey it. So this is a good, fair and very nec­es­sary deci­sion for our foot­ball. I can’t speak for foot­ball lead­ers, but it seems to me that just out of the blue, UEFA offi­cials would not have returned our junior teams. Be that as it may, I think they thought through this sit­u­a­tion (with a pos­si­ble boy­cott, they thought it through thor­ough­ly, so in any case we will be a win­ner.”- the for­mer head coach of the Russ­ian nation­al foot­ball team com­ment­ed on the sit­u­a­tion Boris Ignatiev.

Pub­lish­ing house The Times report­ed that the Ukrain­ian Foot­ball Asso­ci­a­tion sent let­ters to each of the 55 nation­al foot­ball fed­er­a­tions in Europe ask­ing them to boy­cott match­es against the Russ­ian U17 nation­al teams.

After this, a boy­cott of the match against the Russ­ian nation­al team was announced Eng­land, Swe­den, Nor­way, Den­mark, North­ern Ire­land, Latvia, Poland and Ukraine.

Euro­pean coun­tries have announced that their nation­al teams will not play the Rus­sians. Sky News reports that man­age­ment UEFA try­ing to find a com­pro­mise with them on this issue.

I don’t know how UEFA made the deci­sion if it now turns out that these coun­tries do not want to play against Russ­ian teams. I think that before the final deci­sion was made, con­sul­ta­tions were at the most seri­ous lev­el, but, appar­ent­ly, now dis­agree­ments have arisen among polit­i­cal fig­ures from dif­fer­ent coun­tries.

Let’s hope that these boy­cotts will not affect any­thing and UEFA will be able to find a com­pro­mise so that our teams can play”, stat­ed Ignatiev. UEFA is already try­ing to calm down coun­tries that want to boy­cott match­es with Russ­ian nation­al teams, accord­ing to Sky News.

Accord­ing to the source, man­age­ment UEFA con­sid­ers the actions of the protest­ing fed­er­a­tions incon­sis­tent.

The orga­ni­za­tion empha­sizes that in July of this year, the Min­istry of Sports and Youth of Ukraine lift­ed the ban on the par­tic­i­pa­tion of com­pa­tri­ots in inter­na­tion­al tour­na­ments with ath­letes from Rus­sia and Belarus per­form­ing in a neu­tral sta­tus.