On this fifth day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, FIFPRO strongly disagrees with the Bureau of the FIFA Council’s decision, which fails to protect the players or provide clear leadership for our sport by imposing the lightest of sanctions on the Russian Football Union (RFS). Based on the actions of Russia over the past weeks, participation of its teams in UEFA or FIFA competitions or fulfilment of its executives’ functions in international football is not a possibility.
FIFPRO supports all players and football bodies around the world who choose not to play against Russian teams in this distressing moment in time. Our unions in Poland, Sweden, and Czech Republic are in direct contact with the players, whose position to not play, no matter the venue, remains steadfast. Many other players and unions around the world have expressed their support. We therefore call to suspend the RFS with immediate effect until peace, security, and the rule of law are restored.
Russia’s aggression and the united response of democracies around the world have shown that the defence of human dignity and the rule of law are being tested. Football, and sport, has its own responsibility to respond in turn. Its past policies of political neutrality have failed the test of time, and today must mark a turning point for how sport engages with society, how it stands for democracy and human rights. A new approach, consistently applied, that rests on sport’s proclaimed values is urgently needed.
Finally, we call on further support for the global efforts to evacuate the innocent people caught in the middle of this war. Hundreds of thousands of people who wish to leave Ukraine remain, including members of our unions, and we call on continued and increased cooperation to aid their evacuation.