Russia looking for path back into world competitions



Metroland Media Group Ltd.


Russia tried to make progress Tuesday on its slow and difficult return to international sports amid its war in Ukraine at a meeting Tuesday with officials at European soccer body UEFA. Russian Football Union vice president Aleksandr Alaev declined to comment when leaving after three hours of face-to-face talks. They were the first since Russia drew back from a threat last month to leave UEFA and seek to join the Asian Football Confederation. Russian teams are banned from UEFA and FIFA competitions during the war in Ukraine and there currently is no way back from those decisions that were upheld at sport’s highest court. National teams including Poland, Switzerland and Albania had refused within days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February to play their scheduled games against Russia. When the UEFA and FIFA bans imposed on Feb. 28 were challenged at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, judges agreed that the consequences of letting Russian teams play “would be irreparable and chaotic” for the smooth running of competitions. While soccer is blocked, Olympic and sports officials worldwide had conference calls last week to explore ways — all of them complicated — to help Russian athletes and teams compete soon in qualifying events for the 2024 Paris Olympics.