Mar 7, 2022 - Sports

FIFA to allow foreign players, coaches in Russia to break their contracts

Players from Zenit St. Petersburg of the Russian Premier League.

Players from Zenit St. Petersburg of the Russian Premier League celebrating a goal. Photo: Mike Kireev/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Foreign players and coaches on Russian teams will be allowed to suspend their contracts and play elsewhere until June 30, FIFA announced on Monday.

Why it matters: The announcement comes after FIFA and UEFA banned all Russian club and national teams from competition last week after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The announcement should give players flexibility to play elsewhere while the ban is in place.

Details: Starting on Thursday, players and coaches on teams associated with the Football Union of Russia (FUR) can suspend their contracts with the clubs until June 30, the end of the season in Russia.

  • Players will then be able to sign a contract with any other team within that timeframe, FIFA says. They will be bound to their prior contract at the end of the season.
  • Contracts for players of Ukrainian teams will be suspended after the soccer season in the country was cancelled, allowing those athletes to play for different teams, as well until June 30, per the New York Times.

Of note: FIFPro, the largest players' union according to the newspaper, wasn’t satisfied with the decision and felt athletes should be able to suspend the contracts permanently.

What they're saying: "It is unsatisfactory even for players who are tied to short-term contracts in Russia — where contracts typically end in December — and who may not want or be able to return after 30 June 2022," FIFPro said in a statement.

Go deeper