RFU president Aleksandr Dyukov confirmed that his body is not considering the move
The president of the Russian Football Union (RFU) has debunked rumors that the organization plans to leave UEFA and switch to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
Reports have routinely claimed that the RFU was considering the move after UEFA and its global counterpart FIFA banned all Russian teams and clubs from international competitions.
This development, made on an International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommendation as a response to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, resulted in the men’s national team being blocked from playing their World Cup 2022 semi-final playoff tie against European rivals Poland and the women’s national team being thrown out of Euro 2022 in England this summer.
Spartak Moscow were also ejected from the Europa League with their last 32 foes RB Leipzig given a bye to the quarter-finals.
With a string of fresh sanctions brought in at the start of the month meaning all Russian clubs will be prohibited from European competitions next season, and that the men’s team have been removed from the Nations League while Portugal have replaced Russia at Euro 2022, the topic of the RFU pushing on with their supposed breakaway plans has come to the forefront once again.
Pushed for comment on Saturday, though, RFU president Aleksandr Dyukov clearly stated: “We are not considering this option.”
“We are members of UEFA, and will remain [so],” Dyukov continued.
“There were many rumors ahead of the UEFA executive committee and conference that a decision would be made to expel the RFU, but these are rumors that have no basis.”
“We took part in the conference, I took part in the executive committee. There was no such question, no one raised it,” Dyukov said of the events in Vienna this week.
Dyukov’s remarks come after UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin told Slovenian news agency STA in a soon-to-be-released interview that the idea of Russia joining the AFC must have come “from some politician” and not the RFU, while claiming that such plans would roll Russian football back by “100 years”.
In March, RFU official Maxim Mitrofanov had also poured cold water on the purported shot in the dark.
“The press raises the topic that Russia could move to an Asian or even an African confederation. But for now, it’s just make-believe,” Mitrofanov said, according to Match TV, at the ‘We Are Together. Sport’ forum in Moscow.
“We see ourselves in the FIFA family, in UEFA. And we will see how the situation develops. We cannot talk about creating alternative international competitions.
“According to our rules, this requires the consent of the other side, and other teams are also included in FIFA – they will be threatened with exclusion from this organization if they go for an alternative. No one will agree to this,” Mitrofanov added.