Russian National Football team will be able to compete at Euro 2020 despite the four-year ban from sporting events comes into effect, World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) confirms. Russia have booked their place last October as runner-up in Group I and has been drawn in Group B, along with Denmark, Finland and Belgium.
Meanwhile, Saint Petersburg in Russia is one of 12 locations across Europe scheduled to host matches, including a quarter-final in next year’s tournament, while the 2021 Champions League final will also take place in the Russian city.
“The Euros and the Champions League are not multi-sport major events or world championships but rather regional/continental single-sport events,” WADA said. “So they are not affected by this recommendation.”
Earlier this week, WADA issues a four-year ban to Russia, barring the country and its athletes and officials from participating at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 FIFA World Cup following the alleged falsification of laboratory results and non-compliant over inconsistencies in anti-doping data. Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) has 21 days to appeal to be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Historically, Russia was involved in doping scandal back in 2011 and was not exposed until after the 2014 Winter Games hosted by Russia in Sochi where 43 Olympic medals stripped for doping violations and only those who could prove they were clean were allowed take part in last year’s PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea under a neutral flag and a prohibition in playing their national anthem.
On the other hand, the European leg of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers is scheduled to begin in March 2021 and Russia’s participation is the said qualification is under threat despite its link to the Euro 2020 and 2020-21 UEFA Nations League, which results are part of the draw for a tournament it is currently banned from.
In a statement, FIFA mentioned that they are “in contact with WADA and Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) to clarify the extent of the decision in regards to football.” The football governing body also said, “We will await the final considerations of the Wada executive committee on this matter until any potential material decision is taken by Fifa.”
Prior to the decision, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin told Russian President Vladimir Putin that he expects a good job in hosting European championship matches next year as “The World Cup was organized perfectly” by Russia. “It was organized perfectly and I’m sure you are capable of organizing top events,” he said.
For the second successive Olympic Games and in other major sporting events, for the next four years, there would be no Russian delegates. However, individual athletes cleared and not implicated in any way by the non-compliance may still compete under the neutral flag.