The move comes after FIFA was widely criticized on Sunday for its initial response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. At first, the organization said that the Russian national team could continue playing at neutral sites under the name “Football Union of Russia.”
The Russian national team was scheduled to play Poland in a World Cup playoff semifinal on March 24. Monday’s announcement indicates that Russia will not be able to participate in the World Cup, to be held in Qatar later this year. Russian club teams have also been banned from UEFA matches.
“Football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine,” FIFA and UEFA said in a joint statement on Monday. “Both presidents hope that the situation in Ukraine will improve significantly and rapidly so that football can again be a vector for unity and peace amongst people.”
The winner of the March 24 match was scheduled to play the winner of a match between Sweden and the Czech Republic for a spot in the World Cup. But all three teams — the Czech Republic, Sweden and Poland — had refused to play Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine last week.
The head of the Polish Football Association, Cezary Kulesza, blasted FIFA’s initial response on Sunday, calling it “totally unacceptable.” Under the initial restrictions, Russia would have had to play its home matches at a neutral site, without spectators, and it would not have been allowed to use its national flag or anthem.
On Monday, Kulesza hailed the announcement of Russia’s suspension.
“FIFA has suspended Russia!” he said on Twitter. “Fighting for the right case was effective! We have shown that strength is in solidarity. We just acted right. Now it is about helping Ukraine, which we will be doing as the Polish Football Association.”