Russia takes step towards Asia with invitation to compete in central region tournament

March 14 – News that Russia have been invited to compete in a regional Asian tournament in June has rekindled debate over whether they will quit UEFA and instead join the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Despite an ongoing ban from European and FIFA competitions because of its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has been made an offer to play in the inaugural Central Asian Football Association (Cafa) championship, a significant development in the country’s attempt to return to international competition.

The Tajikistan Football Association says a Russian team could join the new regional tournament along with former Soviet republics Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Afghanistan, Iran and another country, yet to be confirmed, will complete the lineup

CAFA was formed in 2014 as one of five sub-regions within the AFC’s footprint and has its headquarters in Tajikistan.

According to the Tajikistan FA, Russia has already accepted the invitation but the Russian Football Union told state media: “We are currently in discussions about the possibility and conditions of the Russian national team’s participation in this tournament.”

Switching from the UEFA to Asia’s 47-nation confederation had been mooted by the RFU president, Alexander Dyukov, as a possible option to allow the Russian national teams and clubs to resume playing in international competition.

In January, Dyukov pulled back from the idea after meeting with European football officials.  No resolution has yet been found but Dyukov last month attended the AFC Congress in Bahrain.

Russia’s national men’s team played just three international friendlies in 2022, against Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

A Russian Under-17 women’s team will participate in the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship having had a request to participate accepted by the sub-regional confederation.

The tournament is scheduled to be hosted in Dhakar, Bangladesh, March 20-28 this year.

On March 23 the Russian men’s team are scheduled to play a friendly against Iran.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1680331121labto1680331121ofdlr1680331121owedi1680331121snI@w1680331121ahsra1680331121w.wer1680331121dna1680331121


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