Alexander Dyukov has revealed Russia’s football exile might end before the next World Cup
Iury Gazinsky of Russia celebrates with Fedor Smolov, Ilya Kutepov and Aleksandr Golovin after scoring the opening goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup © Getty Images / Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Alexander Dyukov, the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU), confirmed on Thursday that it was still possible for Russia’s national team to take part in qualification matches for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Russian national and club sides remain on the periphery of the sport due to sanctions imposed by FIFA and UEFA in the wake of the onset of Moscow’s conflict with Ukraine in February 2022.
“There is a possibility of moving to the Asian Confederation,” Dyukov told Match TV on Thursday at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. “We keep it in mind, based on the fact that after some time it is important for us to start playing official matches.”
Reports emerged late last year that the RFU was considering disavowing its membership to UEFA in favor of accepting an invitation from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to compete within its infrastructure where, in theory, Russia would be eligible to compete in World Cup qualification matches.
However, Dyukov added that while the “theoretical possibility” to do so exists, “we are currently negotiating with UEFA. We are not negotiating a transition to the Asian Confederation.”