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Russian, Ukrainian clubs kept separate by UEFA, Israeli sides can’t host matches

Jul 17, 2014, 11:12 AM EDT

Cyprus Soccer Ukraine U.S. AP

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.

  1. patriotsdefense - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:51 PM

    What, if any, are the impacts on the 2018 World Cup? Is there any possibility of Russia losing the tournament?

  2. nextmanup81 - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:40 PM

    I’d imagine things would have to improve drastically over the next couple of years for Russia to be able to host in 2018. You’d think countries who had citizens perish in the plane disaster would think twice about sending teams, amongst others as well.

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