Russia leaves UEFA and joins Asian Football Confederation (AFC)!

On February 28, UEFA and the International Football Federation (FIFA) suspended the participation of Russian clubs and Russian National Teams in international competitions due to the military operation in Ukraine. The Russian National Team was banned from the World Cup qualifiers in Qatar and could not participate in the 2024 European Championship qualifying draw.

Dyukov stated that the negotiations about Russia’s turning its face to Asia in football are continuing, and underlined that this issue will have an impact on how Russian football will develop at least in the next 10 years.

Stating that they will make the final decision on Tuesday, Dyukov continued his statements as follows:

“We are now seriously considering the transition to the Asian Football Confederation, as we have this window of opportunity until December 31st. We have to apply for withdrawal in order to catch up with the 2026 World Cup. If we don’t do this now, we understand that we have no chance of entering the European competitions. Then we will have access to the next tournaments from 2027. So our football could lose four years. This should be taken into account. As for our clubs, the vast majority support the transition to the Asian Football Confederation. Some are unconditionally, others understand that not playing there is better than not playing in Europe at all.”


Dyukov emphasized that the process would consist of two phases if it was decided to transfer Russia to the Asian Football Confederation, and said that they would first leave UEFA and then join the new organization.

“The withdrawal process from UEFA is possible at the end of the fiscal year corresponding to the seasons in football according to the “autumn-spring” scheme,” said the President of the Russian Football Federation, and that UEFA should be notified at least six months before the end of the financial year, that is, by 31 December, At the same time, he stated that the federation that wants to do this before leaving must fulfill all its financial obligations to UEFA.

Dyukov underlined that Russia does not see the possibility of returning to sports organizations in Europe at the moment, adding that the Asian Confederation is ready to accept Russia.

In his statement, the President of the Federation said, “Naturally, no one at UEFA is ready to give a written guarantee that we will be accepted. However, they are ready to evaluate our objection and they are very likely to accept us.” He said that they knew that FIFA would not object to Russia’s decision to transition to the Asian Confederation anyway.

Reiterating that the clubs are ready to play in Asia, Dyukov said, “Half of the clubs agree on the undisputed transition. Asia is a growing economy and has great commercial potential. When we look at the participating countries, we see that there are countries with a population of 4 billion and large economies.”

UEFA announced that Russian football teams were banned from European cups next season due to Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, and their applications to host the EURO 2028 and EURO 2032 European Championships were deemed invalid.

Speaking at the end of May, European Football Associations Association (UEFA) President Aleksander Ceferin said he was not sure that Russian clubs could play in European cups again.

Speaking to the Italian sports newspaper Sky Sport Italia, Ceferin evaluated the situation regarding the exclusion of Russia from international competitions and said, “We all underestimated the situation in the previous months. No one could have imagined that such a conflict would break out. When it started, we all thought it would take a few weeks. It is very difficult to predict when the situation in Ukraine will change after the decision to ban Russia from European competitions. Therefore, I am not sure that Russian clubs will be able to participate in European cups again,” he said.

German Tkachenko, head of Prosports Management, a player consultancy and management service operating in Russia, said in a statement about when the country will return to UEFA, “I think we will not see Russian clubs in Europe for a long time. It will take at least 5 or 6 years. After the seventh year, the Russian teams will have to start from the bottom of the standings due to the falling ratings.”