Russia will participate in the Central Asian Association championship

Russia will participate in the inaugural Central Asian Football Association championship in June along with seven other men’s national teams, the Football Association of Tajikistan announced on Monday.

Russian teams have been prevented from participating in European and FIFA competitions since the invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

The Russian team will participate in the new regional tournament together with the former Soviet republics Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. Afghanistan, Iran and another country, yet to be confirmed, complete the lineup for the games scheduled for Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

The Central Asian Football Association was formed in 2014 as one of the five regions of the Asian football confederation and is based in Tajikistan. According to the Football Association of Tajikistan, Russia has already accepted an invitation to the event in June.

The initiative could reignite the debate about a possible Russian entry into the Asian Football Confederation (CAF), with the country seeking to return to international football competitions.

In January, the president of the Russian Football Federation, Alexander Dyukov, withdrew his threat, made in December 2022, to join CAF, after meeting with European football officials. However, no resolution has yet been announced. Dyukov participated last month in the CAF congress in Bahrain, holding talks with the organization’s president.

The Russia men’s national team has played just three international friendlies in 2022, against Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The team has games scheduled with Iran and Iraq at the end of the month.

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