No Irish football team will play against Russia until further notice

FAI will be flexible as possible in staging Uefa Nations League fixtures against Ukraine

The Football Association of Ireland has offered its “full and unequivocal support” to Ukraine’s FA and confirmed that no Irish team will play against Russia at any level until further notice.

FAI president Gerry McAnaney and chief executive Jonathan Hill have contacted their counterparts in the Ukraine with messages of support and solidarity and to inform them that the FAI will be as flexible and accommodating as possible with regards to the staging of the two Uefa Nations League fixtures against Ukraine due to be played in June.

The chief executive has also confirmed that the FAI will not play against any Russian team at any level whilst the current situation prevails. “In light of the current situation,” Hill said, “I can confirm that we will not consider any international fixture against any Russian side, no matter what the level, until further notice.”

In a further show of solidarity, the Aviva Stadium will be lit up in the colours of the Ukrainian flag at 7pm on Monday night when landscapes all across the world will also turn blue and yellow.


McAnaney added: “I am sure that fans at our League of Ireland games tonight will also show their support for the people of the Ukraine.”

Ireland are scheduled to host Ukraine in the Uefa Nations League at the Aviva Stadium on June 4th with the second game now due to be played at a neutral venue on June 14th under Uefa instructions.


Meanwhile, the Scottish Football Association has joined its English and Welsh counterparts in also refusing to face Russia at any level until further notice.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has prompted a number of European associations to say they would refuse to play against them, including the Polish, Swedish and Czech federations, who are part of a four-team World Cup play-off draw with Russia.

Scotland are due to face Ukraine in a play-off semi-final on March 24th and SFA president Rod Petrie has written to his Ukrainian counterpart to offer a message of “support, friendship and unity”.

Petrie has also offered the Ukrainian FA support in its preparations for the play-off, and for a Women’s World Cup qualifier between the countries which had been scheduled to be played in Ukraine in April.

The SFA says under current circumstances it will not nominate a team to face Russia in August for the amateur Uefa Regions Cup event, or take them on in any other international fixture.

Not enough

Fifa has, for now at least, stopped short of excluding Russia from the men’s World Cup play-offs due to take place next month, instead ordering the team to play on neutral territory, behind closed doors and as the Football Union of Russia.

Russia are due to face Poland in a semi-final and, if they won that match, would face the winner of the other semi-final between Sweden and the Czech Republic for a place in Qatar. However, all three countries are refusing to face the Russians, even in the manner proposed by Fifa on Sunday evening.

German club Schalke have ended their sponsorship agreement with energy firm Gazprom.

It is the latest example of sport clubs and organisations trying to distance themselves from Russian commercial interests, with Uefa also understood to be discussing with its lawyers how to end its own sponsorship deal with Gazprom. The company is majority-owned by the Russian state.

Manchester United announced they had withdrawn from a deal with Russian airline Aeroflot last Friday.

Schalke’s short statement released on Monday read: “The FC Schalke 04 managing board and supervisory board have come to the agreement to end the club’s partnership with Gazprom prematurely.

“The club are currently in discussions with representatives of the current sponsor and further information will be released at a later date.

“This decision does not affect the club’s financial capabilities. The club’s leadership are confident to be able to announce a new partner in the near future.”

Former Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Kadeem Harris, who had been playing in Ukraine with Metalist Kharkiv, wrote on Instagram in support of the country, and to report he had safely left it.

He posted: “I’m still in shock from the events that have taken place in the last few days! A country that welcomed me with open arms.

“A country full of clean hearted people are now under attack because they refuse to be bullied. I pray for Ukraine, I pray for my team-mates whose families are in the middle of this disaster and I pray it all comes to an end asap!

“Thankyou for all the messages and phone calls of concern. I can confirm I am safe and not in the country. Pray for Ukraine.”

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue is a former Irish Times journalist