Josef Klement has suggested that last year’s decision to bar Russian clubs from tournaments could soon be reversed
Russia’s national team and clubs could soon begin playing in tournaments organized by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) again, a representative of the organization has said. Russian teams have been barred since February 2022.
Speaking at the annual conference of the Russian Football Union on Thursday, Josef Klement, an adviser for the National Associations of the UEFA Department of National Associations, said that football needs to set an example of how to deal with “challenges.”
Klement noted that the sport is currently facing one such challenge, an apparent reference to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. However, as was the case with the Covid-19 pandemic, he said, UEFA will manage to overcome these challenges in the end.
“We believe that very soon we’ll be able to meet not only at the level of football functionaries at conferences and seminars, but also at the level of players and teams in national and club matches,” the official added.
Klement expressed hope that “Russian clubs and teams will be allowed to fight it out against competitors from other European countries, but always on the football field only, in the spirit of fair play.”
The UEFA official said the UEFA has been fulfilling all of its financial and organizational obligations to the Russian Football Union. He stressed that the organization hopes to continue cooperation.
Klement concluded by saying that the sporting body “wants to build bridges between countries, not destroy them” in order to “set an example of how to deal with challenges” for the rest of the world.
Last February, several days after Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine, both FIFA and UEFA banned Russian football clubs and national teams from participating in their tournaments.
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