Estonian Football Association declares: No matches against Russia

Estonian Football Association declares: No matches against Russia.
Estonian Football Association declares: No matches against Russia. Photo: ARVET MÃGI

In light of the Union of European Football Associations' (UEFA) decision to allow Russia’s U17 teams back into international competitions, the Estonian Football Association asserts its clear and unreserved stance -- Estonian national teams will not play against Russia.

The decision to reintegrate Russia's U17 teams into international tournaments was made by UEFA's executive committee.

«Neither the Estonian Football Association nor any person affiliated with it was aware of UEFA's intention beforehand or involved in the decision-making process at any level. Had we been able to participate in the decision-making, the Estonian Football Association would have opposed the reintegration of Russia's U17 teams into international football,» the association said.

«While UEFA has made its decision, we object and cannot, nor want to, comply with that decision. The Estonian Football Association's clear, unequivocal and unreserved stance is that Estonian national teams will not play against Russia. UEFA has been aware of our position from the outset. The Estonian Football Association deeply regrets that previous messages may have misconstrued our stances,» the association emphasized.

The association also finds it crucial to reiterate several of its previously stated positions.

It is vital to remain united within Estonia, especially in a situation where people stand together for the same cause -- for Estonia, in support of Ukraine, and against Russian aggression. Supporting Ukraine inherently means opposing Russia's war in Ukraine and that must be unambiguously condemned, the Estonian Football Association said.

«We wholeheartedly hope that the war ends with Ukraine regaining control over all its territory as quickly as possible, also so that their football community can continue their activities,» the football association stated in a public statement on Wednesday evening.

Since February 2022, the Estonian Football Association and the local football community have organized numerous actions to support Ukraine, raising more than 60,000 euros, expressing support at several Estonian league, cup, and national team matches through public campaigns, exempting Ukrainian youth from license fees in the Estonian championships, arranging a charity match between FC Flora and Kyiv Dynamo, meeting a member of the Ukrainian parliament, hosting Ukrainian youth football camps in Estonia, and more. Last April, at the FIFA congress, the Estonian Football Association was one of the four associations that voted against adding Russian to FIFA's official languages.

The Estonian Football Association also contributes to Estonia's national defense. Last year, the Estonian defense forces added the football association to the list of employers supporting national defenders, thereby recognizing the association's activity in supporting employees participating in defense force exercises. Several employees of the association also participated in the recent military exercise Ussisonad (Parseltongue).