Vladimir Putin suffered another huge blow today when Russia was banned from the Olympics and the soccer World Cup and UEFA championships.
On Monday, FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, and UEFA, the sport’s European governing body, announced Russian national teams and club teams have been banned from all competitions “until further notice.”
The International Olympic Committee’s executive board hours earlier banned Russia saying sports organizers should “not invite or allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in international competitions.”
That means no 2022 men’s World Cup for Russia, no Russia’s women’s team in the 2022 European Championships, Spartak Moscow is out of the Europa League round of 16, and the relocation of the Champions League final from St. Petersburg, Russia, to Paris.
FIFA issued a statement that said:
“Following the initial decisions adopted by the FIFA Council and the UEFA Executive Committee, which envisaged the adoption of additional measures, FIFA and UEFA have today decided together that all Russian teams, whether national representative teams or club teams, shall be suspended from participation in both FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice.
“These decisions were adopted today by the Bureau of the FIFA Council and the Executive Committee of UEFA, respectively the highest decision-making bodies of both institutions on such urgent matters.
“Football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all the people affected in Ukraine. Both Presidents hope that the situation in Ukraine will improve significantly and rapidly so that football can again be a vector for unity and peace amongst people,” the statement said.
Putin got hit on another key front today as well.
Shell announced it will end its partnerships with Russian energy company Gazprom and BP said it will exit from its 19.75% stake in Rosneft.
Russia relies on western know-how to run their oil industry so this is a blow.
“We are shocked by the loss of life in Ukraine, which we deplore, resulting from a senseless act of military aggression which threatens European security,” Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said in a statement Monday.
“Our decision to exit is one we take with conviction. We cannot — and we will not — stand by,” van Beurden said.
Kwasi Kwarteng, the United Kingdom’s energy secretary, said:
“There is now a strong moral imperative on British companies to isolate Russia.
“This invasion must be a strategic failure for Putin.”
Breaking News: FIFA will ban Russia and its teams, ejecting the country from qualifying for the 2022 World Cup only weeks before it was to play for one of Europe’s final places in the tournament. UEFA will join FIFA in issuing and honoring the ban. https://t.co/TVD3uh1oUY pic.twitter.com/cqv9ZvVv7h
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 28, 2022
Soccer is the most popular sport in Russia. The World Cup is its most popular event.
While sanctions like these feel irrelevant, news of them reaches everyday Russians. They are beyond Putin’s ability to censor. https://t.co/ULFZPXg1S5
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@TheRealHoarse) February 28, 2022
There are fresh signals that the invasion of Ukraine could seismically reshape the West’s energy relationship with Russia.
Driving the news: Germany, a huge buyer of Russian gas, on Sunday announced new steps to buffer itself from Vladimir Putin.
They include building new liquefied natural gas import terminals, expanded gas storage, and perhaps, reversing plans to close nuclear plants.
Also Sunday, U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss floated the idea of G7 limits on Russian oil and gas imports.