Although Russian teams are no longer allowed to take part in competitions organised by the world governing body, Fifa has not suspended the Russian federation. President Infantino instead called for peace.

The suspension of the Russian federation failed to materialise at the 72nd Congress of the world football association FIFA in Doha. Although President Gianni Infantino called urgently for peace and dialogue in his speech, there was no vote on an exclusion of Russia.

Instead, under agenda item four, only the existing suspensions of the associations of Pakistan, Zimbabwe and Kenya were extended.

“Please, please stop the conflicts, the wars, for our future and our children,” Infantino said in his address, “Seek dialogue even with your worst enemy. Football will be there for you to work together for peace.” The Russian federation was on hand in the Qatari capital led by general secretary Alexander Alaev with a delegation of several people, and its flag was also raised normally with those of other nations.

Russian teams remain suspended

Already on Wednesday, the Council had confirmed the exclusion of Russian teams from their competitions, which was decided in February because of the war of aggression on Ukraine. The Russian selection was therefore absent from the World Cup play-offs and will also be absent from the World Cup from 21 November to 18 December. The International Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) had rejected an appeal by Russia against the decision.

“The Russian federation has not violated anything. There are clear conditions for suspension or withdrawal of membership,” Alexei Sorokin, former member of the FIFA Council and head of organisation of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, had already said before the Congress. One should anyway “not be so naive that football can solve all problems”, said Infantino, who did not clearly name the Russian war of aggression as such.