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Football FIFA opens special transfer window for foreign players in Russia

FILE PHOTO: Image shows the FIFA logo and the Russian flag
FILE PHOTO: The FIFA logo is displayed in front of the Russian flag in this February 28, 2022 illustration. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

March 7, 2022

PARIS (Reuters) – FIFA is opening a special transfer window for foreign players stranded in Russia over the invasion of Ukraine, the world governing body said on Monday.

“To facilitate the departure of foreign players and coaches from Russia, in the event that clubs affiliated with the Football Union of Russia (FUR) fail to reach a mutual agreement with their respective foreign players and coaches before or on March 10, 2022… The foreign players and coaches have the right to unilaterally suspend their employment contracts with the concerned FUR member clubs until the end of the season in Russia (30 June 2022),” FIFA said in a statement.

“Suspension of a contract…means players and coaches are considered ‘out of contract’ until 30 June 2022 and are therefore free to sign a contract with another club without any consequences.”

FIFA’s move is only a temporary measure that won’t help much, the players’ union (FIFPRO) said, demanding that players be allowed to terminate their contracts.

“The decision… to allow foreign players to only suspend their contracts and thus only temporarily leave Russian clubs is too timid,” FIFPRO said in a statement.

“It will be difficult for the players to find employment for the remainder of the season as the uncertainty looms over them and they will find themselves in a very difficult situation again within a few weeks.

“It’s unsatisfactory, even for players tied to short-term contracts in Russia – where contracts typically end in December – who may not want or be able to return after June 30, 2022… FIFPRO told FIFA last week that these Players should do so are allowed to terminate their contracts.”

FIFPRO called on FIFA and its European counterpart UEFA to set up a fund to help players and coaches in Ukraine.

“It is disappointing that other stakeholders in this process have not been willing to agree to this important step,” it said.

“For players, coaches and others in Ukraine, we believe it is essential that UEFA and FIFA scale up professional football’s response to the war by establishing a fund to support all those affected in the industry.”

Russia is calling its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” designed not to occupy territory but to destroy its neighbor’s military capabilities and capture what it considers dangerous nationalists.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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Ashley

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