Jul 17, 2014, 11:12 AM EDT
After a UEFA emergency panel gathered on Thursday to discuss the current situation between Russia and the Ukraine, European soccer’s governing body has taken a drastic step to keep the two nations apart.
The panel also decided that no games will be hosted by Israeli sides in European competition, as the situation between Israel and Palestine intensifies.
For the upcoming season UEFA have decided to keep Ukrainian and Russian clubs from playing each other “until further notice” due to the unrest. The U.S. national team played Ukraine back in March in a friendly when the trouble first erupted and the match had to be switched then due to safety fears. The game was played in Cyprus.
According to UEFA, they had to make the ruling “in light of the current political situation after the Russian and Ukrainian associations expressed concerns about safety and security.”
The ruling directly impacts the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round draw on July 18, as Russian side Zenit Saint Petersburg and Ukrainian club Dnipro can not play each other.
With UEFA and soccer in general always keen to stay out of politics when necessary, it shows just how dire the situation has become between Russia and Ukraine for a drastic measure like this to be decided.
As for the situation in Israel, Maccabi Tel Aviv had been due to host a qualifying game in the Champions League and Hapoel Tel Aviv and Hapoel Be’er Sheva in the Europa League this month. They will now have to find a safe alternative venue to host their matches, as the Mediterranean island of Cyprus looks like a good bet.
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