FIFA to let foreign soccer players and coaches in Russia and Ukraine temporarily break contracts


FIFA announced Monday it will now allow foreign soccer players and coaches in Ukraine and Russia to temporarily break away from their current contracts and sign with new clubs until the official end of the club calendar season on June 30. Here’s what you need to know::

  • Contracts of foreign players and coaches in clubs affiliated to the Ukrainian Association of Football (UAF) will be deemed automatically suspended until the end of the season.
  • Foreign players and coaches in clubs affiliated to the Football Union of Russia (FUR) will have the right to unilaterally suspend their contracts if the two parties involved (player-club or coach-club) fail to reach a mutual agreement before March 10.
  • Those involved must register with a new club by April 7

With the nation’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine continuing, it’s left numerous players in Russia in potentially difficult circumstances as other countries around the world levee sanctions impacting normal day-to-day life in the country. Understandably, many want to leave and seek a more stable and secure place to be with FIFA’s latest special-case ruling.

This decision made by soccer’s international governing body will impact around 100 players, but it is only temporary, essentially allowing players to force loan moves until the summer.

This comes after FIFA and UEFA took their own measures, booting Russian clubs from European competitions, while also barring the national team from this year’s World Cup before potentially even qualifying. 

Krasnodar, for instance, announced last week that their coaches and players could suspend their contracts and leave. Manager Daniel Farke, formerly of Norwich City, quit without having coached a single match.

In a letter, FIFPro stated that they wanted the players to be able to terminate their deals, according to The News York Times:

“These foreign players may rightfully consider that they are not willing to represent any longer a Russian team and should be able to immediately terminate their contract with their employer without facing any sanction whatsoever from international bodies and to be registered in a new club without being restricted by transfer period regulations.”

Clubs around the world now may just get the opportunity to add essentially free agents for three months, though it isn’t clear how that would look. Leagues have deadlines to register players for competitions, though they are able to add free agents throughout the campaign.

The Russian first division has several highly sought-after players that would in theory boost squads around Europe. Former Barcelona winger Malcom is the highest-valued players, while Colombian talents Wilmar Barrios and Jhon Cordoba also play there.

CBS Sports will update this story as more information becomes available.

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