The appeal committee of the European Football Association (ETTU) found the request of the Russian Federation justified, which questioned the exclusion of the semi-finalists of this year’s Champions League – the teams VKEL Gazprom Orenburg and TTSC UMMC Yekaterinburg. The ban was imposed on them after the Russian military invasion of Ukraine. The committee’s justification stated that clubs should not be seen as representing their countries, so they should not be subject to the same rules as their national teams. It was recommended to play the brilliant semi-finals and then the final.
ETTU Vice-President Heike Ahlert has officially considered that the recommendations of the Appeal Committee are unlikely to enter into force. Federation officials stated that their intent was not to penalize the athletes for their governments’ decisions. The decision to suspend Russian clubs was taken in order to preserve their safety and ensure the fairness of the competition, in line with the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee and the International Federation (ITTF). The ETTU Board of Directors has announced that it will meet to discuss the next steps in this matter.
The decision surprised the club representative from Dusseldorf, who had won this competition six times in previous years. “We were sad to win the Champions League in March, but now we don’t even know if we can feel champions or not,” said Borussia coach Andreas Prius.
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