ZURICH: World football federation FIFA has followed Europe’s UEFA in offering a chink of light to Russia and Russian football by allowing its U-17 teams back into international competition.

UEFA’s own decision, taken by the executive committee last week, was taken in the face of abstentions by British and Polish representatives and provoked bitter exchanges among Nordic representatives.

FIFA used UEFA’s decision as a cover for its own vote, undertaken in videoconference session with members of the governing council.

A statement said: “This [lifting of the suspension on Russia] is conditional on these teams playing under the name of the ‘Football Union of Russia’ rather than ‘Russia’, in the absence of their national flag, their national anthem, their national-team kit and equipment, and instead playing in neutral colours.

“The FIFA Council reiterated its condemnation of Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine and confirmed that the remaining terms of the decision made on 28 February 2022 remain in force until the end of the conflict.”

FIFA’s decision will be welcomed within the International Olympic Committee which is pursuing its own route towards an allowance of Russian competitors at the Paris Games next year.

Other decisions

The inaugural edition of the FIFA Futsal Women’s World Cup™ will take place in 2025 as a stand-alone tournament with 16 participating teams. The respective slot allocation will be as follows: AFC: 3; CAF: 2; Concacaf: 2; CONMEBOL: 3; OFC: 1; UEFA: 4; host country: 1.

Next year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Colombia will be enlarged from 16 to 24 teams and take place from August 31 to September 22. The slot allocation will be AFC: 4; CAF: 4; Concacaf: 4; CONMEBOL: 4; OFC: 2; UEFA: 5; host country (Colombia): 1.

The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup next year in Dominican Republic will take place from October 16 to November 3 with the Beach Soccer World Cup in Seychelles in 2025 from May 1 to 11 , 2025.

New seretary-general

FIFA Council has approved the appointment of Mattias Grafström, currently deputy secretary general (football), as FIFA Secretary General ad interim with immediate effect.