Ukraine captain, Andriy Yarmolenko has called for the complete and continuing isolation of Russia from professional sport after UEFA confirmed the country would be excluded from qualification for Euro 2024.
Speaking on the eve of Wednesday’s Nations League match against Scotland at Hampden, the striker said it should be impossible to consider seeing ‘terrorist’ Russia represented on the field of play while its army killed civilians in his homeland.
Russia has been banned from UEFA and FIFA competitions since it launched its invasion of Ukraine in February, with the Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissing an appeal against that exclusion in July.
UEFA on Tuesday, September 20, declared the nation would have no place in the Euro 2024 qualifying draw scheduled to take place in Frankfurt on October 9.
Yarmolenko’s comments came as it was confirmed Ukraine manager Oleksandr Petrakov had been fined an undisclosed amount and warned by European football’s governing body after he had vowed to take up arms against Vladimir Putin’s forces.
Bosnia and Herzegovina have agreed to play a friendly against Russia in St Petersburg in November, a decision which has drawn angry criticism from high-profile Bosnian players Miralem Pjanic and Edin Dzeko.
Asked about the situation concerning Russian involvement in top-level sport, Yarmolenko insisted more governing bodies should follow UEFA’s example.
‘My thoughts are quite simple,’ said the 32-year-old, who now plays for Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates.
‘Russian football, Russian sport, should be totally isolated.’
‘This is a country of terrorists. A country that kills Ukrainians, kills Ukrainian children. We cannot just talk about sport when something that terrible is happening.’
‘All Ukrainian players, they want Russia to be isolated on every level. We cannot allow Russia to take part in any competition while its army are killing the civilian population in Ukraine. So the stand of the Ukrainian team is pretty unified. Russia should be banned from anything.’