Russia prepared to leave UEFA and join Asian Football Confederation: Reports

Russia are considering leaving the UEFA.
Russia are considering leaving the UEFA.

The Russian Football Union (RFU) is scheduled to hold an executive meeting on Friday to discuss the possibility of leaving Europe's football governing body UEFA and joining its Asian counterpart, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

According to ESPN, the move comes after all Russian clubs and national teams were suspended from competitive football action by both FIFA and UEFA in February following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

With the ban still in place, RFU officials believe that a move to the AFC would be beneficial as they consider the Asian governing body to be more 'welcoming' towards Russian clubs.

Speaking about this, government official Roman Teryushkov said:

"In the current geopolitical realities, the presence of the RFU in UEFA contradicts the national interests of Russia," Roman Teryushkov, the deputy of the State Duma, told Sports.Ru. "It is impossible to build sports friendship with countries unfriendly to us and with constant poking from the collective West."

A meeting was held in Moscow on the 23rd of December to initially consider this proposal. Sources believe that a final decision could be made by the executive committee by Friday.

UEFA are said to be monitoring the situation for clarity on Russia's position. The two have had a rocky history, as evidenced by the fact that the 2022 Champions League final, which was originally set to happen in Saint Petersburg, was moved to Paris following Russia's war with Ukraine.

If things go ahead, Russia would be the first country to resign from UEFA. AFC, on the other hand, has previously accepted members from other confederations, with Australia joining them in 2006 after leaving the Oceania Football Confederation.

Asian Football Confederation planning for revamp of Champions League and Cup tournament

The Asian Football Confederation is looking to redesign its major tournaments.
The Asian Football Confederation is looking to redesign its major tournaments.

The Asian Football Confederation is looking for a major revision of its two main tournaments - the AFC Champions League and the AFC Cup. The new format will strive to have the better teams compete against each other more regularly and is set to come into effect from the 2024-25 season, switching from a calendar year season to a season across the year-end.

The club competition will be revised to have three tiers instead of two, and the top tier will consist of 24 teams that will have 12 each from the East and the West competing in a league format.

Speaking about the changes, Asian Football Confederation general secretary Datuk Seri Windsor John said:

“This is a little like the European concept for a Super League but the key thing here is that this is not a closed competition. The top teams from the leading nations will compete more frequently against each other but it will be on a merit basis.”

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