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FIFA holds vote on Russian as an official language

Russian will become one of global football governing body FIFA’s official languages after a vote in favor of the proposal at the organization’s congress in Qatar on Thursday.

The FIFA Council submitted the proposal to amend Article 9 of the FIFA Statutes, with 210 members present for the vote in Doha. Of these, 208 were eligible to vote and 191 decided to do so.

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In order to be accepted, the proposal – put forward at a February 24 FIFA Council meeting and which included adding Arabic and Portuguese as well as Russian to the list of official languages – needed a majority of 156 votes but passed by some way with 187 ‘yes’ votes to four ‘no’ votes in total.

Prior to Thursday’s vote, FIFA’s official languages were English, Spanish, French and German. News of the proposal had previously been shared by German reporter Markus Harm on social media and was confirmed by the FIFA press service, according to TASS.  

READ MORE: Russia avoids FIFA vote after expulsion fears

The decision comes despite FIFA and UEFA banning all Russian teams from international events last month following the start of Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine.

That step meant that the Russian men’s national football team were barred from the 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifiers, while the women’s national team are set to miss the UEFA European Championships in England this summer. 

Nonetheless, a Russian delegation was in Doha at the 72nd FIFA Congress where the vote was held.

Russian football official Alexey Sorokin, insisted that they deserved be there, as reports revealed that there was no dissent from other national associations when their presence was announced.

READ MORE: FIFA boss explains decision to ban Russian teams

“We are not hiding. We have every right to be here,” Sorokin said, as Russia also avoided a potential vote on expulsion.

“We find it kind of strange that the Russian team was not allowed to play in this [2022 World Cup] qualification,” he added.

“It’s strange. We feel that our football players and football lovers have nothing to do with (the military operation).” 

Despite their sanctions, Russia have shown an interest in hosting the UEFA European Championships in either 2028 or 2032, and Sorokin pointed out that “it is a long time until 2032.”  

“It’s a dual-year bid – we have the choice of 2028 or 2032. We need to start,” Sorokin stressed when probed on whether the RFU’s bid could overcome that from the UK and Ireland for 2028.

READ MORE: Russia launches Euros bid

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