"They are victims". UEFA President expresses condolences to Russians and complains about pressure from Ukraine
The president of the European Union of Football Associations (UEFA), Alexander Čeferin, has expressed his position on the elimination of Russian teams. According to the Slovenian, he has never felt pressure from Russia in this matter.
"The only pressure comes from the other side: to keep Russia out. However, this ban will remain in effect as long as the war continues. I'm not happy about it because I feel sorry for the athletes, but everyone, including UEFA, must do everything possible to stop this madness," Čeferin said in an interview with The Guardian.
The head of UEFA sees no possibility for Russian athletes to overthrow the Putin regime.
"Speaking of Russian athletes not going against the government... You can do it in the UK, I can do it in my country, but in Russia you will end up in jail if you do that, or worse. So they are not easy to resist and they are victims. It's bad for athletes, it's bad for human relations, but unfortunately we live in such crazy times. What I see in geopolitics is frightening," Čeferin summarized.
As OBOZ.UA reported, after the full-scale invasion began in February 2022, UEFA disqualified all Russian football teams and national teams. In particular, the clubs were unable to play in the Champions League, Europa League, and Confederations League, and the national team was unable to play in the League of Nations.
In September 2023, Alexander Čeferin said that Russian teams would not return to international football tournaments until the occupiers leave the territory of Ukraine.
It should be noted that a few days ago, the legendary Croatian striker Zvonimir Boban left UEFA, where he was the head of the football department.
The bronze medalist of the '98 World Championships took this step in protest against Čeferin's intentions to amend the organization's charter and "zero out" his terms.