The Russian football federation reportedly is considering leaving UEFA and joining the Asian confederation after its clubs and national team were banned following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Both UEFA and the world governing body FIFA banned Russian sides from their competitions in late February after President Vladimir Putin ordered the brutal war on Ukraine.
Clubs from the Russian Premier League can’t play in the Champions League, Europa League or Europa Conference League indefinitely, with Spartak Moscow kicked out of the Europa League at the last-16 stage.
The men’s national side was also booted out of qualifying for this year’s World Cup, with Poland handed a walkover to Tuesday night’s play-off final, while the women’s national team may be thrown out of the European Championship this summer.
But reports in Russia suggest the country’s football union may consider making the switch from UEFA to the AFC, with website Championat asking high-profile personalities to debate the pros and cons of the idea.
If this happened, Russia would switch to the Asian qualification tournament for the World Cup and compete in the Asian Cup as opposed to the European Championship.
Club sides would be in the Asian Champions League rather than the UEFA Champions League and the AFC Cup rather than the Europa League. However, as the report acknowledges, the switch would have to be ratified by other Asian federations.