World soccer’s global governing body suspended Russia and its teams from all competitions on Monday, ejecting the country from qualifying for the 2022 World Cup only weeks before it was to play for one of Europe’s final places in this year’s tournament in Qatar.
The suspension, which was announced Monday evening in coordination with European soccer’s governing body, also barred Russian club teams from international competitions. The decision came a day after FIFA was heavily criticized for not going far enough in punishing Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, and amid mounting demands from national federations for stronger action.
The initial pressure for an outright ban of Russia came from soccer officials in Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic, whose national team faced the prospect of games against Russia in a World Cup playoff in March. Other countries and officials, including the federations representing France, England and the United States, quickly said they would not play Russia under any circumstances.