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Russia banned from European women's soccer championship, World Cup

Russia banned from European women's soccer championship, World Cup
UEFA under President Aleksander Ceferin on Monday announced that Russia's national women's team will not be allowed to compete in this year's European championship. File Photo by Richard Juilliart/EPA-EFE

May 3 (UPI) -- The Union of European Football Associations announced that the Russian national women's soccer team will not be allowed to compete in this year's European championship or qualify for next year's World Cup.

The announcement by the UEFA is the latest action against athletes from Russia over their country's invasion of Ukraine in late February.

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The UEFA had said days after the invasion began that it had decided to suspend all Russian representative teams and clubs from UEFA competition until further notice. The announcement on Monday was a result of that first decision, it said.

"The UEFA Executive Committee today took a series of decisions relating to the implications of that decision for its upcoming competitions, in order to ensure their smooth staging in a safe and secure environment for all those concerned," the sports body said in a statement.

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The organization said the Russian women were to compete in Group C of the UEFA Women's EURO 2022 final tournament scheduled for July 6-31 but will now be replaced by Portugal, the opponent Russia defeated to gain entrance to the tournament.

The women's team will also not be able to qualify for the World Cup, it said, stating all of its previous results are now considered "null and void," it has failed to compete in two scheduled qualifying matches due to its suspension and it will not participate in any future games.

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Russia's bids to host the 2028 and 2031 European championships have also been declared ineligible by the UEFA Executive Committee on the grounds that "each bidder shall ensure that it does not act in a manner that could bring the UEFA, the UEFA final or UEFA final phase, or any other bidder, ... the bidding procedure or European football into disrepute."

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The announcement follows FIFA, the world governing body of soccer, and UEFA suspending all Russian national teams and clubs until further notice on Feb. 28, days after Kremlin forces invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

In response to the invasion, several sports bodies and organizations have attempted to cut ties with Russia, including the NHL, which suspended its memorandum of understanding with Russia's KHL.

The Boston Marathon also banned runners from Russia and Belarus while World Taekwondo removed Russian President Vladimir Putin's honorary black belt and the International Judo Federation suspended his status as its honorary president.

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The International Olympic Committee had also recommended that no athlete from Russia or Belarus, which is accused of aiding Moscow with the invasion, be allowed to compete under their national flags.

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