As reported by Le Parisien, the French FA’s (FFF) president, Noël Le Graët, has said he would be in favour of throwing the Russian national team out of World Cup qualifiers – play-offs are set to be held next month – following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Le Graët said:
“I am leaning towards excluding Russia from the next World Cup. This is my first impulse. Usually, I believe that sport is there to reconcile people and ease tensions. But this has gone much too far and the world of sport, and football in particular, cannot remain neutral. I will certainly not oppose the exclusion of Russia.”
The FFF president also explained French footballing authorities would have done the same as Sweden, Czech Republic and Poland in refusing to play against Russia next month, were France in their position:
“It’s simple, you don’t have to think long… We would never have gone there. In these dramatic circumstances, how could we have considered playing football against this country?”
Over the weekend, France’s Minister for Sports, Roxana Maracineanu, asked the French sporting community to not send any teams, players or representatives to Russia in light of the invasion, a decision on visiting Russian athletes is yet to be made.