Ukraine has officially called for FIFA and UEFA to review their decisions regarding Russian youth teams' participation in international competitions. FIFA recently lifted its suspension on Russia's under-17 teams, following a similar move by UEFA. This allows Russian youth teams to compete globally, including in the World Cup.

UEFA had previously allowed Russian youth teams back into its tournaments while maintaining a ban on Russia's senior squads due to the war in Ukraine.

FIFA's decision comes with conditions, including the requirement that Russian teams compete under the name “Football Union of Russia” and not display their national flag, anthem, or official playing kit.

Ukraine's Ministry of Youth and Sports condemned these decisions and called on FIFA and UEFA to reconsider them.

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“We call on FIFA and UEFA to stand up to the violence and aggression of the Russian federation,” Ukraine's Sports Ministry said in a statement.

“We demand a review of the FIFA and UEFA decisions as infringing on the rights of Ukrainian children who have been deprived by Russia of the right to train safely and simply live in their homeland without the threat of being kidnapped, raped or killed.”

The ministry argues that the decisions infringe on the rights of Ukrainian children, who face risks and challenges due to the conflict, including threats to their safety and the destruction of sports infrastructure.

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The high-stakes showdown comes after President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that his country desperately needs continued support from the West to defeat Russia.

“The occupying Russian regime continues to kill and kidnap Ukrainian children, destroying civilian infrastructure, including stadiums and sports schools, leaving Ukrainian children no opportunity to play sports or live a normal life,” it said.

The ministry also expressed concern that these decisions might send the wrong message to Russian children.

“At the same time, UEFA and FIFA are bringing back Russian children to compete, and they, through the fault of these organizations, will be convinced that their country has the right to kill others and is doing the right things,” it added.

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Russia had initially been barred from all international football tournaments following its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

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