Germans want Belarusians kicked out


Football club Koln have demanded that Belarusian teams be excluded from UEFA competitions

German football club FC Koln have called on UEFA to exclude all Belarusian teams from European competitions, citing “the political situation and the support of Russia by the Belarusian government.”

UEFA blocked all Russian teams from competing in its tournaments after the onset of the military campaign in Ukraine but did not take the same step with teams from Belarus.

Belarusian teams are allowed to participate, although UEFA ruled that matches must take place at neutral venues, and that no fans will be allowed at games in which teams from Belarus are designated as the “host.”

Belarusian clubs will also be kept apart from Ukrainian rivals in the draws for UEFA competitions.

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But continued Belarusian participation does not sit well with FC Koln – also known as Cologne – who are set to embark on a qualifying campaign for the 2022/23 UEFA Europa Conference League.

They could come up against Belarusian opposition such as BATE Borisov, Dinamo Minsk, Shakhtyor Soligorsk or FK Gomel.

The Germans issued a statement on Thursday calling for all those teams to be kicked out of the tournament.

Criticizing the Belarusian government for its “massive support” for the Russian military operation in Ukraine, Koln said it had sent a letter to UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin “to exclude the teams from Belarus from all European competitions with immediate effect.”

“FC Koln has also personally informed the DFB [German football federation] leadership about this attitude and is in contact with the other teams participating in the qualification for the group stage of the UEFA Europa Conference League in order to solicit support in these circles,” it added.

“FC [Koln] members are also called upon to make it clear to UEFA that there must be an exclusion from the Belarusian teams. The board asks to share the demands on social media.”

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Numerous sporting federations moved to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competition following a recommendation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on February 28 that both nations should be sanctioned.

However, UEFA and global counterpart FIFA have only moved against Russian teams, leaving Belarusian ones to participate under restrictions.

It was announced last week by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland that Russia had lost its appeal against the FIFA and UEFA bans, which Russian football officials have described as discriminatory.

As a result of the bans, the Russian men’s team missed out on the chance to qualify for the 2022 Qatar World Cup, while the women’s team were removed from this summer’s European Championship in England.

Russian clubs will not be allowed in UEFA competitions such the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League for at least the 2022/23 season.

St. Petersburg was also stripped of last season’s Champions League final, which was due to be held in the Russian city in May.

Instead, UEFA moved it to Paris, where it was marred by ugly scenes between French police and visiting Liverpool fans.

READ MORE: Russia responds to ‘discriminatory’ FIFA move

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