UEFA boss Aleksander Ceferin “spent 48 hours on the phone with players and coaches” to secure a safe exit from Ukraine

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has revealed that he is personally helping footballers trying to leave Ukraine and has called for an end to the “madness” of Russia’s invasion of the country.

Earlier this week, the European Football Association banned Russian clubs and national teams from all competitions after already moving this year’s Champions League final from St. Petersburg.

Speaking at the Financial Times’ Business of Football Summit, the 54-year-old explained some of the other work that’s happening behind the scenes.

Ceferin said from UEFA headquarters in Switzerland: “I’ve been on the phone for 48 hours with players and coaches, foreign players and coaches to help them leave Ukraine during the war.

“We talked to each other 24 hours a day and I asked all governments for help, but nobody could help because nobody could guarantee safety.

“Everyone said to stay there because that’s safest and I kind of understand the governments because it’s difficult for them to take responsibility, but we had to do it, together with the Football Union of Ukraine and everyone Neighboring countries football associations.

“It’s hard for me to explain how tough, tough and sad those talks were. One of those players came to my house two days ago when they left Ukraine successfully. The other one was here today.”

“You must know that I have photos of their site when they were there with families, with children aged four and three months, with bombs going off in front of them. It’s bigger than football and I’m proud of the football family, that the football family is together and we helped as much as we could.

“We have a lot of things like that that are not public, but we have to help 24/7 and do our part. Our part is the football part. It’s really hard to say what can happen tomorrow. We all hope and pray Der War will stop. This madness should stop as soon as possible.”

A joint statement by UEFA and FIFA on Monday confirmed that Russian clubs and their national teams will no longer be allowed to compete due to the war in Ukraine, but Ceferin will not be used if the ban is lifted.

He added: “It’s impossible to say. At that moment, our decision was the only right decision, it was a unanimous decision by the UEFA Executive Committee. Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow.

“I can’t give you an answer to that question. For now it stays that way and we are waiting for peace. Then football will be the least important thing.”

While Russia’s men are expected to miss December’s World Cup in Qatar, the women have also been banned from this summer’s European Championships and a solution is being worked out to replace them.

Ceferin explained: “The decision of our Executive Committee is that all Russian teams and Russian national teams, youth, women and men, are out of competition, that is the decision now.

“The other thing is what we are still discussing. Probably, when I spoke to our competitions director, we will have a tie who enters between the teams that were close to qualifying (for the Women’s Euro 2022), but now the decision hasn’t been made yet.”

https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/uefa-chief-aleksander-ceferin-on-the-phone-for-48-hours-with-players-and-coaches-trying-to-secure-safe-exit-from-ukraine-41406654.html UEFA boss Aleksander Ceferin “spent 48 hours on the phone with players and coaches” to secure a safe exit from Ukraine

Fry Electronics Team

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