Slovakia and Norway want to take Russia’s place in the European World Cup play-offs

Slovakia and Norway requested FIFA to replace Russia in the European play-offs. However, the world governing body must decide in these days whether a substitute squad can take part at all. Furthermore, Ukraine asked for the postponement of their semi-final in Scotland for more than understandable reasons.

Regardless, Article 6 of the competition regulations states that “If an association withdraws or becomes excluded from the competition, FIFA shall decide at its own discretion and take the measures it deems necessary.” After the military attack on Ukraine, the Russian teams faced an exclusion from all international football competitions.

Poland, Czech Republic, and Sweden refused to face Russia

The Sbornaja initially should have hosted Poland on 24 March in the European play-off. However, the federations of Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic stated clearly that they would not play even on neutral territory. Nevertheless, FIFA took a comparatively long time to impose the sanction on the Russian team. This is also due to the fact that the president of the association, Gianni Infantino, received from Vladimir Putin, among other things, an “Order of Friendship”.

Now the opinions on how to proceed are divided. Because: Within the world association, some would automatically put Poland into the second round. However, the European members of the FIFA Council have a different opinion. After all, the Biało-Czerwoni, especially over the Czech Republic and Sweden, would have an excessive advantage.

The Russian Football Union (RFU) made an appeal

Behind first-placed Croatia and Russia, Slovakia finished third in Group H of the European World Cup qualifier. Here, the Sokoli, like Slovenia, collected 14 points. For its part, Norway justified its request with the fact that it finished the group phase as the best third-placed team. Albania picked up 18 points as well, but they had a significantly worse goal difference.

As mentioned above, Ukraine requested the postponement of the European play-off. The Yellow-Blue were drawn into path A together with Scotland, Wales, and Austria. Here, they should initially compete in Glasgow on 24 March. The Scottish Football Association (SFA) already provided the training infrastructure for the Ukrainian national team.

Moreover, Russia appealed against the suspension at the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland. Now the FIFA and the European football association UEFA must decide on the next steps.

Alice Kopp

By Alice Kopp

Alice is half Austrian and half Italian. That's why she experienced the 1990 World Cup in Italy at first hand. And that awakened her enthusiasm for football. Since she has loved writing since childhood, Alice began to study journalism while still at school. It was very convenient for her that her class took part in a project of a German daily newspaper. She was also allowed to write for the children's pages of an Austrian daily newspaper and to get a taste of the sports department of the same medium. This is how she received her first press accreditations, which was of course anything but a matter of course for the then 18-year-old. Although she was partly advised against it, Alice decided to study journalism and communication sciences. After a few years, she decided to use the exams she had taken as an elective. Nevertheless, she applies the knowledge she has acquired in her further professional life. The same applies to her language skills. In addition to her mother tongues German and Italian, Alice is also proficient in English and Spanish. She also understands French and can use this language in research. During her studies, Alice was involved in an Austrian football club. At the same time, she wrote for a total of three Austrian portals and worked as an Austria correspondent for an Italian-language online medium. This collaboration started during Giovanni Trapattoni's era at Red Bull Salzburg and continued during EURO 2008. This gave her the opportunity to interact with Trapattoni as well as with Italian journalists. From the following year, Alice initially worked with a Swiss portal before discovering sports betting content for herself. On the one hand, this kept her in sports journalism, and on the other, it broadened her horizons. And that both in the context of the sports betting industry and with other sports as well as countries. In the field of sports journalism, she focused in particular on football from around the world, volleyball and beach volleyball. In addition, she naturally wrote several guides, bookmaker profiles, bonus articles and other content for betting enthusiasts. She did this for the same company for about ten years, writing articles in German and Italian. She also built the Italian-language website together with the managing director. Meanwhile, Alice started working with another Austrian football club. Furthermore, she joined the Association Internationale de la Presse Sportive (AIPS) in 2016. This gives her the opportunity to watch teams and athletes on the ground relatively often. Not only sports betting, but also radio In January 2019, the next step in her professional development followed. For: she started creating premium content on the topic of sports betting. In the process, she finally put out feelers to almost all countries and all continents. And this was not least due to the fact that both German and English-speaking users subscribed to her content. Nevertheless, Alice continued to use her knowledge of Italian, among other things. On the one hand, because she regularly exchanges ideas with Italian colleagues, and on the other, because she works with a web radio station. The Corona crisis had a strong impact on the sports world and on interest in sports betting, primarily in the early days. Therefore, a fresh start was necessary and, on balance, Alice found the fields of activity that suited her best. She also writes articles for an agency on almost all disciplines as well as on eSports and content for a German online medium. Alice is half Austrian and half Italian. That's why she experienced the 1990 World Cup in Italy at first hand. And that awakened her enthusiasm for football.