A meeting is reportedly scheduled for later this month as officials attempt to find a way back to competition for Russian teams
Russian football officials and their counterparts at European governing body UEFA will hold talks next week to discuss the potential easing of the sanctions on Russian teams, it has been reported.
Russian teams are currently banned from all UEFA and FIFA competitions because of the conflict in Ukraine. At the end of December, the Russian Football Union (RFU) said it would establish a working group alongside UEFA in a bid to find a possible pathway back to international tournaments.
"A meeting of representatives from the RFU and UEFA is scheduled at the UEFA office on January 24, at which potential opportunities for the return of Russian clubs and teams to international matches will be discussed," said an RFU source on Friday, as quoted by the TASS news agency. "From the RFU, (general secretary) Maxim Mitrofanov and Aleksandr Alaev (president of the Russian Premier League) will participate in the meeting."
It was also reported on Friday that RFU president Aleksandr Dyukov is set to take part in the UEFA Executive Committee's first meeting of 2023, which is scheduled for January 25 at the organization's headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. Dyukov is due to attend in person, according to the RFU's press service.
Russian officials are seeking a reversal of the UEFA and FIFA bans on their teams which were initially imposed at the end of February as a response to the start of Moscow's military campaign in Ukraine.
The sanctions meant the Russian men's national team was deprived of the chance to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and Russia has already been removed from the qualifying process for the 2024 UEFA European Championships. At club level, Russian teams are banned from competitions such as the prestigious UEFA Champions League for at least the 2022/23 season.
The RFU has appealed the UEFA and FIFA bans with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland, but thus far without success. Russian officials have not ruled out pursuing their case with the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.
After being sidelined from UEFA competitions, it was suggested that Russia could leave the European organization and bid to join its Asian counterpart, the AFC. The reasoning is that Russian teams would potentially find a faster route back to competition in a more welcoming environment, particularly ahead of qualification for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
In the end, the RFU opted to establish its working group alongside UEFA in effort to resolve the current restrictions. Russian officials are targeting the start of April for a decision on the matter.