UEFA bars Belarus from hosting games; competition ban looms

March 3, 2022 GMT
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko casts his ballot at a polling station during the referendum on constitutional amendments in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. Belarusians vote at a referendum on constitutional amendments that could allow country's strongman Alexander Lukashenko to further cement his grip on power until 2035. (BelTA pool photo via AP)
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko casts his ballot at a polling station during the referendum on constitutional amendments in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. Belarusians vote at a referendum on constitutional amendments that could allow country's strongman Alexander Lukashenko to further cement his grip on power until 2035. (BelTA pool photo via AP)
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko casts his ballot at a polling station during the referendum on constitutional amendments in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. Belarusians vote at a referendum on constitutional amendments that could allow country's strongman Alexander Lukashenko to further cement his grip on power until 2035. (BelTA pool photo via AP)
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko casts his ballot at a polling station during the referendum on constitutional amendments in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. Belarusians vote at a referendum on constitutional amendments that could allow country's strongman Alexander Lukashenko to further cement his grip on power until 2035. (BelTA pool photo via AP)
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko casts his ballot at a polling station during the referendum on constitutional amendments in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. Belarusians vote at a referendum on constitutional amendments that could allow country's strongman Alexander Lukashenko to further cement his grip on power until 2035. (BelTA pool photo via AP)

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — UEFA barred all Belarus teams on Thursday from hosting international soccer games, though they could still be expelled from European competitions for joining Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Belarus is still at risk of being banned from international competitions — as Russia was by UEFA and FIFA on Monday — before its next scheduled home game on April 7. Iceland was due in Borisov for a group-stage game in qualifying for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

“The UEFA executive committee will convene further extraordinary meetings, on a regular ongoing basis where required, to reassess the legal and factual situation as it evolves,” the European soccer body said.

Belarus is already eliminated from qualifying for the men’s World Cup, and was not due to take part in European playoffs on March 24.

ADVERTISEMENT

Russia was scheduled to host Poland on that date and the national soccer federation is preparing to appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the ban by FIFA and UEFA.

The next senior competitive games for the Belarus men’s team are in June, in a UEFA Nations League group with Slovakia, Azerbaijan plus either Kazakhstan or Moldova.

When Belarus teams do play home games in neutral countries, no fans will be allowed to attend, UEFA said on Thursday.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports