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SPORTS UPDATE

Russia banned from UEFA Euro 2024 qualifiers

Football’s European governing body UEFA has banned Russia from qualifying for the men’s 2024 European Championship, but Belarus have been permitted to take part.

FIFA and UEFA have taken the stance of removing Russian clubs and national teams from their competitions following the invasion of Ukraine in February, but Belarusian teams have been permitted to continue participating, playing their European and international matches at neutral grounds and behind closed doors.

The International Olympic Committee has recommended that athletes and officials from both countries are banned from sports events.

At its meeting on the Croatian island of Hvar, UEFA’s Executive Committee decided Russia would not be allowed to take part in qualifying for Euro 2024, with the draw due to take place in Frankfurt on October 9.

Russia has already been expelled from qualifying for the men’s 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and the main tournament of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022, and its clubs are not taking part in European competitions this season.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld the exclusion of Russian teams from FIFA and UEFA competitions in July.

Russian and Belarusian officials have also retained their positions at FIFA and UEFA, with Football Union of Russia President Alexander Dyukov remaining on the continental governing body’s Executive Board.

Belarus, who have never qualified for a major football tournament, are set to be included among the 53 nations in qualifying for UEFA Euro 2024.

That is despite a call from Nancy Faeser, the Interior Minister of the host country Germany, for Belarus to be excluded from qualifying as well as Russia.

UEFA has decided that there will be seven groups of five teams and three groups of six.

The top two teams in each group qualify for the final tournament, with three further places available through playoffs, which feature 12 teams based on their performance in the UEFA Nations League.

Germany qualify automatically for the tournament as hosts.

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