Sports and Politics

Adebayo Adeniran
3 min readMar 9, 2022

Why did it take global outrage for FIFA and UEFA to ban Russia?

Fitsum Admasu via Unsplash

The Russian war in Ukraine has started something extraordinary.

It really has.

The images beamed around the world stirred something in millions of people and they reacted in the only way they knew: demonstrating solidarity with Ukraine. And this great sense of solidarity, rather interestingly, has been near universal; cutting across disparate races, cultures, religions and age groups.

And football (known in America as soccer), the sport loved by billions across the globe, picked up the gauntlet and simply ran with it.

In football stadiums across the United Kingdom and Europe, you had football teams literally falling over themselves to express sympathy with the Ukrainians, over their immense difficulties.

Given the current politically charged climate, It wasn’t long before national football teams announced that they weren’t going to play Russia in the upcoming world cup qualifiers. Sweden, Portugal, Scotland and Ireland were swift in taking sides. The likes of England later followed suit.

But UEFA and FIFA, the continental and World footballing bodies were stridently silent about the Russian war and very slow in condemning Russian aggression.

Why?

Knowing the degree to which UEFA and FIFA are neck deep in corruption and cowardice, the football authorities simply underestimated the level of antipathy to Russian aggression in Ukraine. Anyone who follows football, will remember the bribery scandal which forced Sepp Blatter, the previous head of FIFA to step aside a few years ago and ushered in the equally corrupt Gianni Infantino, who has had a good few scandals to contend with in his short time as head of FIFA.

We must also appreciate modern history that football’s governing bodies have always put their commercial interests first and never really been at the forefront of taking a clear, principled position on the raging issues of our time.

But we live in truly interesting times.

Witnessing the unanimity and profound clarity from Western and European footballing nations certainly forced the hand of the global footballing bodies in banning Russia…

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Adebayo Adeniran

A lifelong bibliophile, who seeks to unleash his energy on as many subjects as possible