Russia has been pondering about switching to Asia and leaving UEFA for good due to the continual ban from all European competitions. However, such plan is still questionable.


Recently, European governing body has reportedly determined to extend their suspension on Russian football, which includes their men and women national team, U-20 team and clubs. It means they are unable to join in various competitions stretching from UEFA Nations League 2022/23, Women's Euro 2022, the following EURO U-21 qualifiers, plus Champions League, Europa League and Conference League until further notice. Moreover, their bid for hosting EURO 2028 or 2032 edition has been cancelled out as well. The sanction could go on further if the invasion does not stop.


Geographically, the switch to Asia might seem possible. There have been previous cases regarding the confederation switch. Australia is the most recent example. The Socceroos did it in 2006 from Oceania to elevate their competition level. Yet, they had been attempting it for decades before they succeeded.


The Russia case might not be as simple as it seems. On the bright side, the inclusion of Russia in AFC would definitely increase their chance to qualify to World Cup more often since they have better team than the average Asian rivals, especially considering more berths are given to AFC in World Cup United 2026. In addition, the national team and clubs might even win more continental silverwares, should they compete in the slightly lower championship such as Asian Cup and AFC Champions League. Consequently, the competition level in Asia, both the national team and club ones, is improving with the Russian sides in the mix.


Nevertheless, Asian countries might not share the same view as Russia. Politically, the majority of Asian countries are opposed to the invasion, which would definitely be challenging to accept Russian football federation into their region. Next, they are also likely to have objection with Russia's switch regarding their eight berths in the next world cup edition. Should Valery Karpin's men compete in the next world cup qualifiers, it will be a tighter race for other Asian teams beside Japan, South Korea and Iran to fight for the remaining spots for World Cup final rounds. Furthermore, the Russian clubs which have been very lenient in using foreign players in the squad for their continental success such as Zenit St.Petersburg, Spartak and CSKA Moscow would not have the same luxury once they play in Asia. The continent football governing body has a certain regulation in limiting the number of foreign figures in the squad for improving their domestic football.


Last but not least, in terms of economic, bringing Russia to Asian football does not necessarily give significant contribution as there have already been a number of worldwide companies from Japan, South Korea, PRC or Middle East. The inclusion of Gazprom as the main sponsor of AFC top flight tournaments might be a great addition. Unfortunately, the Russian-based energy company might not see it that way. Unlike in Europe where they have gained political benefits from sponsoring UEFA Champions League, Asia provides much less of such kind for Gazprom.


Generally, the switch to Asia seems more complicated than expected, despite the fact that it is quite plausible. In the end, it is all down to their willingness to do so with those conditions. Like it or not, the politician still holds the key to normalise Russian football.