Spartak Moscow issue statement after being kicked out of Europa League by UEFA

Spartak Moscow have said they will obey UEFA’s decision to remove them from the Europa League, while stressing that they disagree with the decision.

The governing body has banned all Russian club and international sides from its competitions in the light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, while the men’s national team has also been thrown out of the World Cup with just a month to go until its proposed qualifying play-off.

Spartak had won their Europa League group stage ahead of Napoli, Leicester City and Legia Warsaw, and had been due to take on German side RB Leipzig in the next knockout round.

However, the European football body has moved to remove the club from the competition, with Leipzig getting a bye to the quarter-finals.

“UEFA and FIFA have decided to exclude from the current iteration of the Europa League. This means that our round of 16 ties against RB Leipzig will not go ahead as planned,” Spartak’s statement reads.

“This verdict is connected to the organisations’ position on recent events that have taken place in Ukraine.

“The recent decision taken by UEFA and FIFA although expected, is extremely upsetting. Unfortunately, the efforts that our club made in the Europa League have been nullified for reasons that are far outside the remit of sports.

“Spartak has millions of fans not only in Russia, but all over the world. Our successes and failures bring people from dozens of different countries together.

“We believe that sport, even in the most difficult times, should aim to build bridges, and not burn them. We are forced to obey a decision that we do not agree with.

“For now, we shall focus on domestic competitions, and are looking forward to a speedy achievement of peace that everybody needs.”

Spartak had finished above Leicester City in their Europa League group© AFP via Getty Images Spartak had finished above Leicester City in their Europa League group

RB Leipzig have put out a statement of their own in relation to the cancellation of the last-16 games, which had been due to be played on March 10 and 17.

“For us, war in any form is unacceptable. We have always clearly emphasized this attitude,” the Bundesliga club have said.

“UEFA today banned all matches involving Russian clubs. Even though we are of the opinion that sport fundamentally unites, we understand and support this decision and hope that a peaceful solution to the conflict will soon be found.”

UEFA and FIFA had earlier made a joint statement in relation to Russian club and international sides.

“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,” the statement read.


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