Russian football bodies accuse Fifa of discrimination with contract suspensions

Russian Football Union, the Russian Premier League and Russian professional clubs accuse Fifa of contradicting its own principle of 'keeping politics out of sport'

Fifa said it continues to 'condemn the ongoing use of force by Russia in Ukraine and calls for a rapid cessation of the war and a return to peace.' Reuters
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The Football Union of Russia and the Russian Premier League have condemned Fifa’s decision to allow foreign players and coaches to suspend their contracts with Russian clubs.

In a joint statement on Friday, the Russian Football Union (RFS), the Russian Premier League and Russian professional clubs accused football’s world governing body of contradicting its own principle of “keeping politics out of sport”.

The statement said: “We believe the decision to suspend contracts contradicts the Fifa Charter, is discriminative in nature, and was made against one of the members of the big football family who is not at fault. There have been no preliminary consultations or discussions held with Fifa’s representatives on this matter.

“This decision undermines completely the principles of contractual stability and the integrity of competition. It openly declares that players and coaches may now disregard their contractual obligations.

“Furthermore, it fully discards economic implications for the Russian football clubs. How could long-term planning and financial standing be ensured when any player – let alone the most valuable one – may leave a team without any compensation? A contract may no longer remain the mechanism that fully protects both the club and the athlete. This precedent is a bad sign for the entire football industry.”

The Russian football bodies added that Fifa’s decision would cause “irreparable damage to Russia’s football” and they would be seeking legal action to “protect our interests”.

Earlier in the week Fifa had granted players and coaches registered to clubs in Ukraine and Russia the right to suspend their contracts for next season and move overseas.

The changes will be valid until June 30, 2023.

“These provisions give players and coaches the opportunity to train, play and receive a salary, while protecting Ukrainian clubs and facilitating the departure of foreign players and coaches from Russia,” a Fifa statement said.

The football authorities in Ukraine have held discussions with the national government with a view to resuming competitive men’s and women’s football from August.

Russian national sides and clubs remain banned from Fifa and Uefa competitions, a decision which Russia is challenging in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

However, the RFS remains a member association of both of those organisations.

Fifa added in its statement on the extension of the special player registration: “Fifa also continues to condemn the ongoing use of force by Russia in Ukraine and calls for a rapid cessation of the war and a return to peace.”

Updated: June 25, 2022, 8:37 AM
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