World football’s governing body FIFA announced on Wednesday that it had lifted Russia’s ban from international football by allowing under-17 girls and boys teams from the country to take part in tournaments.
The move follows a similar relaxation on Russia youth teams last week by European soccer body UEFA.
“This 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,” FIFA said in a statement.
Teams from Russia were banned from international football following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
UEFA decided after Russia’s invasion in February 2022 that all Russian teams – national or club sides – would be suspended from participation in its competitions.
But last week, the governing body of European soccer said “children should not be punished for actions whose responsibility lies exclusively with adults”, and that Russian U-17 sides would be readmitted to UEFA competitions “in the course of this season”.
The Ukrainian Association of Football urged UEFA to reconsider its decision and said it will not play in tournaments involving Russian teams.
England, Norway, Sweden and Denmark have also said their youth teams would not play against Russia despite UEFA’s decision.