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England 'will OPPOSE playing Russian teams' despite UEFA partially lifting ban

  /  autty

England will retain a stance against playing teams from Russia despite UEFA partially lifting their ban on the nation to allow Under-17 sides to compete in its competitions, according to reports.

The governing body was swift to hand down a total ban on both national and club sides in the wake of Russian aggression 18 months ago, and the organisation's president Aleksander Ceferin stated in April that it would be 'very hard' to overturn the ruling as long as Russia remained involved in their conflict with Ukraine.

However, UEFA announced on Tuesday that they would ease the ban to enable Russian youngsters to play and develop - insisting it was 'aware that children should not be punished for actions whose responsibility lies exclusively with adults.

The statement added: 'For these reasons, the UEFA Executive Committee has decided that Russian teams of minor players will be readmitted to its competitions in the course of this season.

'It is particularly aggrieving that, due to the enduring conflict, a generation of minors is deprived of its right to compete in international football.

'The Executive Committee has asked the UEFA administration to propose a technical solution that would enable the reinstatement of the Russian U17 teams (both girls and boys) even when draws have already been held.'

Despite UEFA's ruling, the FA will continue to oppose playing teams from Russia, with the governing body still believing the nation should not be readmitted into European youth competitions, as claimed by Sky News.

Last year, shortly after Russia had invaded Ukraine - and before UEFA's ban came into effect - England reitereated their vow to not play Russia in any competition while they were still involved in the conflict.

A statement from the FA in February 2022 read: 'Out of solidarity with the Ukraine and to wholeheartedly condemn the atrocities being committed by the Russian leadership, The FA can confirm that we won't play against Russia in any international fixtures for the foreseeable future.

'This includes any potential match at any level of senior, age group or para football.'

While UEFA has partially lifted the ban, they insisted any ties featuring the youth sides will be played on neutral ground, and the teams will not be able to either wear the Russian national team strip, nor play the national anthem before kick-off.

Alongside the ban, UEFA issued a statement that said that the organisation's executive committee 'reiterated its condemnation of Russia's illegal war and confirmed that the suspension of all other teams of Russia (including clubs and national teams) will remain in force until the end of the conflict in Ukraine'.

In April, Russia discussed the possibility of lifting the ban after u-turning on a proposed switch to the Asian Football Confederation.

'We are negotiating with UEFA about the restoration, removal of bans, negotiations are difficult, these are long conversations that go on all the time,' RFU Secretary General Maxim Mitrofanov told Russia's official state news agency TASS at the time.

'UEFA does not want the RFU to leave, and the RFU does not want to leave, but nevertheless, it is very important to restore the games for the clubs, youth teams and the first team, of course we want to play.'

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