UEFA eases ban on Russian teams entering its competitions with U17 sides permitted to play in plain kit

Vladimir Putin UEFA splitGetty Images

Following an Executive Committee meeting held in Cyprus on Tuesday, UEFA announced that it would seek to allow the country's male and female Under-17 teams to participate in qualification for tournaments that conclude next summer.

The organisation confirmed that fixtures would take place outside Russia and that teams would compete in plain kits with no national symbols, flags or anthems permitted.

Russian teams have been banned from all UEFA-sanctioned competition since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. However, according to UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, the easing of restrictions on youth sides will not be mirrored at senior level: “UEFA’s continuing suspension against Russian adult teams reflects its commitment to take a stand against violence and aggression. UEFA is determined that this position will continue until the war is over and peace restored."

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"But by banning children from our competitions," Ceferin continued, "we not only fail to recognise and uphold a fundamental right for their holistic development but we directly discriminate against them."


The Executive Committee's decision poses a logistical puzzle for competition organisers, with the draw for both qualification phases having already taken place and games scheduled to begin from next week.

The finals of both tournaments are due to take place next summer in Cyprus and Sweden.