The Russian national football team will play in the tournament of the countries of Central Asia
The Russian national football team will play in the first men’s championship of the Central Asian Association CAFA, together with the teams of Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and the Kyrgyz national team. This is the first official tournament with the participation of the Russian team since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
The press service of the Football Federation of Tajikistan reported on Russia’s participation, the Tajik Service of Radio Liberty reports. The results of the matches will be taken into account in the FIFA ranking, said the press secretary of the federation Faridun Saliev in an interview with the Russian channel “Match TV”. The games will be held in June, presumably in Tashkent and Bishkek.
CAFA conducts local tournaments between six countries in soccer, mini-soccer and beach soccer, says Sports.ru. The organization was created on the initiative of Iran, its president is the eldest son of the President of Tajikistan Emomala Rahmon Rustam Emomala.
After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European national teams refused to play with the Russian team as a sign of solidarity with Kyiv. The Russian team was removed from the team for the World Championship. It failed to organize a friendly game with Bosnia, three matches were played with the Kyrgyz, Tajik and Uzbek national teams.
Against this background, the Russian Football Union stated that it is considering the possibility of moving from the European Football Association – UEFA – to the Asian Football Confederation. The final decision on this issue is expected to be made at the RFS executive committee on March 31.
The move to Asia potentially unlocks international tournaments for the Russian national team. However, Russian clubs will have to compete in Asian competitions instead of the European Cup and the Champions League. These tournaments are less prestigious in the world, they pay minimal prize money compared to European ones, and teams from the European part of Russia will have to make long flights to the matches.