The Lithuanian Football Federation says Lithuanian footballers will not play against the Russians after the UEFA Executive Committee on Tuesday decided to reinstate Russia’s U17 teams to international competitions.
According to the LFF, although all national teams and clubs were immediately suspended when Russia started its war against Ukraine, the UEFA Executive Committee reversed the decision on Tuesday and allowed Russian youth teams to return to international competition from the start of this season.
“The UEFA decision was a bit unexpected, but our position on this issue remains unchanged: we do not believe that any Russian national teams or clubs should be able to compete in international competitions at this time. Even if they do not use the national flag, anthem or other national symbols and play on neutral grounds,” LFF President Edgaras Stankevicius said in a statement, adding that other representatives of UEFA members are also reluctant to accept this decision.
“We can once again confirm that we continue to stick to our previous positions: we condemn Russia’s military actions in Ukraine and we can assure you that we will not play against Russian footballers 100 percent, even if the draw of one or another tournament determines it,” the LFF president underlined.
If Lithuania were to play Russian youth teams in tournaments after a draw, our footballers would refuse to take the field “regardless of the sanctions that the federation might face and regardless of where the matches would be played”.
“In this case, we can only agree with the representatives of the football federations of Ukraine, England, Latvia and other countries, who have already publicly stated that their footballers will not play against the Russian national teams. We congratulate them on this and stand together,” Stankevicius said.
Poland and Latvia have decided to boycott all international football matches against Russian teams.
UEFA said in a statement on Tuesday that the disqualification of Russian adult national teams and clubs will remain in place until the end of the war in Ukraine. Belarus has not been disqualified by UEFA.
In a statement issued late on Tuesday, the Ukrainian Association of Football, condemned the UEFA decision and called for it to be reconsidered, saying that Ukraine will boycott tournaments involving Russian youth teams.
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